Nebraska’s hope for a spelling national championship ended Wednesday.
Omaha eighth-grader Immanuel Soh, who is home-schooled, made a good showing but did not advance to the finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Forty-one spellers advanced based on their performance in the oral rounds and on a written test.
Soh had stayed alive Wednesday by correctly spelling the word “feta” in round three.
Feta is, according to Merriam-Webster, a white, moderately hard and crumbly Greek cheese made from sheep’s or goat’s milk and cured in brine.
In the second round, Soh correctly spelled the word “casita.”
The word, of Latin-derived Spanish origin, means a small house.
Another Omaha speller, 13-year-old Stephanie Lewis, an eighth-grader at Omaha’s Marrs Magnet Center, bowed out Tuesday after misspelling “cacaxte.”
Cacaxte is a square wooden packing frame or crate that has four legs and a net cover and is carried on the back, especially by native Guatemalans with the help of a sling.
She made it to the national contest as the winner of the Midwest Spelling Bee, which is sponsored by The World-Herald.
Soh finished third in the Midwest bee but was included in the national competition thanks to a new wild-card program for youngsters who don’t qualify through conventional means and are willing to pay their own way.
The contest features the best spellers in eighth grade or lower from across America. It takes place at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center near the nation’s capital.
The competition began with 519 spellers. By Wednesday, they were whittled to 452 and hours later to 321. The 41 finalists were selected from that group.
Here are some of the brain-busters that competitors spelled correctly in the third round: raster, porcupinish, podsnappery, Plasticine, Himalayas, detrital, fugacious and ichthyism.
The final round to decide the winner will be aired live on ESPN at 7:30 p.m. Central Thursday.