While Ohio could be the home of a national championship basketball team, with the Cavs competing in their first game of the 2018 NBA Finals Thursday night, the state unfortunately won’t be the home of this year’s national spelling champion.
“Popliteal” and “mydriasis” were the two words that took down Ohio’s final participants in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington Thursday.
Chillicothe’s Nilla Rajan, a 13-year-old seventh grader, and Massillon’s Snehal Choudray, a 13-year-old eighth grader, competed against 39 other students from across the country in the finals that began Thursday morning.
Rajan breezed through her first on-stage word, “primavera,” but was tripped up by “popliteal,” a word that refers to the area behind the knee joint.
It was her second time appearing in the national finals and Rajan will be eligible for the competition next year.
Choudray, however, will miss the cut off as she enters high school next year. Still, she made it further in the final round than her fellow Ohioan.
She easily spelled “cantal,” “chaudfroid” and “gradus” before facing “mydriasis,” missing the word by one letter.
Ohio sent 24 spellers to the preliminary rounds of the national bee that began Wednesday.
The state saw its last crowned national champion in 2010 in Anamika Veeramani of Cleveland.