Two Southern California students were among 49 spellers who competed in Thursday's semifinals of the 88th Scripps National Spelling Bee in Maryland.
Jenna-May Ingal, an eighth-grader from James Workman Middle School in Cathedral City, spelled two words aloud on the stage of the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center Wednesday. She achieved a high enough score on a 26-question multiple-choice spelling and vocabulary test Tuesday to enter the semifinals from the original field of 285.
Jenna-May correctly spelled "barabara" -- a sod or turf hut in northern Siberia or Alaska -- and "fruticetum" -- a collection of ornamental shrubs -- onstage Wednesday.
On Thursday, she spelled "vinaceous" correctly in the semifinal round, but was knocked out when she incorrectly spelled "periegesis."
Cooper Komatsu, a 12-year-old student at Culver City Middle School, also qualified for the semifinal round. He spelled "amarillo" and "nockerl" correctly in the qualifying rounds before spelling "inessive" and "Dicynodon" Friday in the semifinal.
The remaining spellers took another 26-question multiple-choice spelling and vocabulary test Wednesday. To advance to the championship finals, the spellers must correctly spell both their semifinal words and have a high enough combined score on their tests. A maximum of 12 spellers will advance to the championship finals.
A misspelling of either semifinal word means the contestant is eliminated.
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The semifinals will be shown on ESPN2 from 7 to 10 a.m. PDT and the finals from 5 to 7 p.m. on ESPN.