St. Johns County student makes national spelling bee finals

Fruit Cove Middle 7th-grader competes on national television

By Crystal Moyer - Traffic/reporter, Staff

Sreeniketh Vogoti, 13, thinks through spelling a word Thursday during the Scripps National Spelling Bee. (AP photo of Cliff Owen)

ST. JOHNS, Fla. - Sreeniketh Vogoti, a seventh-grader at Fruit Cove Middle School, advanced to the top 10 of the Scripps National Spelling Bee and competed for the title Thursday evening on national television.

However, he was eliminated after spelling the word "palagonite" incorrectly. 

Sreeniketh won the gold medal at the Northeast Florida spelling bee with little preparation. He made it through 20 rounds in the regional bee, out-spelling students from 13 other counties.

But before traveling to Washington, D.C., to compete, Sreeniketh studied the Scripps spelling bee lists, read plenty of books and learned new words.

He said that if he needs extra time, stalling is not a problem.

"I usually ask for a sentence, just to give me time to think,” Sreeniketh told News4Jax in March. “Plus, Scripps gives a couple of funny sentences here and there, so I like to just listen to that and calm down on the stage."

Sreeniketh said he's interested in math and science and wants to pursue a career in physics. He also has a knack for spelling pretty much anything.

"I'm doing this basically for my love of spelling and the languages,” Sreeniketh said. “Winning is just a bonus. So best of luck to all of the spellers to compete, is all I have to say."

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