First Coast Spelling Bee winner, runner-up eliminated at nationals

Spellers ousted by vocabulary test at Scripps National Spelling Bee

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The top two spellers from the First Coast Spelling Bee competed this week in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., but did not advance to the finals.

First Coast Spelling Bee winner Erik Williams, 11, spelled two words correctly Tuesday to keep himself in the competition.

The St. Johns Country Day School sixth grader spelled “pernio” correctly in the morning round and “locavore” correctly in the afternoon.

“Pernio” is a skin condition caused by exposure to very cold temperatures, and “locavore” is a person whose diet consists only of locally grown food.

St. Augustine's Manischa Wijayawardhana, who was the runner-up at the First Coast Spelling Bee, correctly spelled “gyri” and "ritzy" at nationals. “Gyri” is a convoluted ridge between anatomical grooves, and "ritzy" means impressively or ostentatiously fancy or stylish.

Despite spelling both their words correctly, Erik and Manishca weren't guaranteed a spot in the finals. A written vocabulary test given to the competitors narrowed the field to 50, and the two First Coast spellers did not advance.

Erik and Manischa were two of 11 million spellers who started their journey more than eight months ago. Just over 500 reached the national stage.

To follow the progress, of those remaining in the national competition, click HERE.