Two local spellers advance at National Spelling Bee

WASHINGTON | Things got serious on day two of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

The early rounds Tuesday and Wednesday morning went without a hitch for all three Kansas City area competitors.

Kavya Shivashankar, 13, a three-time finalist from Olathe and a top contender this year, handled "disciples."

In his second national bee, Brent Henderson, 14, of Blue Springs spelled "discreet," and 11-year-old Jacob Longmeyer, a first-timer from Pleasant Hill, Mo., correctly tackled "coexistence."

In fact, all 293 spellers moved on to the third round. But the words got trickier and only 41 got to be semifinalists.

Unfortunately, Jacob wasn't among them. He tripped up on "schuetzenfest" (German marksmen’s festival).

Kavya, meanwhile, advanced by spelling "mesophilic" (growing best in an intermediate environment), as did Brent, who aced "oleiferous" (producing oil).

The semifinals begin at 9 a.m. today and will be aired live on ESPN. The finals will be broadcast starting at 7 tonight on ABC.

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