Caravel Academy student wins state spelling bee

State Spelling Bee champion Maanvi Sarwadi holds her trophy with event coordinator Anne Marie Eanes Saturday. (Delaware State News/Craig Anderson)

WILMINGTON — After about four hours and 25 straight correct spellings, Maanvi Sarwadi could finally relax.

The Caravel Academy seventh-grader nailed “phyton” to capture the annual State Spelling Bee hosted by St. Mark’s High Saturday.

“I’m a little impatient,” she said after besting a field of 76 competitors from throughout Delaware.

“I almost thought it would never end. It’s hard to think that I might be the next one to go every time my turn come up, but it never did.”

Next up is the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. in May.

“I’ve visualized this, I’ve waited for this moment and it’s finally come,” Ms. Sarwadi said.

William Doyle of Middletown’s Everett Meredith Middle School was No. 2 and Raphael Kim of Newark Charter Junior High placed third. Dave Skocik pronounced the words to the field as he has since 1991.

Afterward, spelling bee coordinator Annie Marie Eanes called it the longest competition in 10 years the school has hosted.

Pictured are Kent County competitors before the State Spelling Bee hosted by St. Mark’s High Saturday. (Delaware State News/Craig Anderson)

Organizers were peppered with questions on the format by contestants before the competition began at about 9:30 a.m.

Among the last few words the champion Sarwadi spelled correctly were “Slurvian,” “keeshond,” “pizzicato,” and “menhaden.”

Mr. Doyle faltered on “teff” after correctly spelling “schadenfreude,” “tokomak,” “zeitgeber, “fantoccini,” and “tenebrism” in later rounds.

Everett Meredith Middle School’s William Doyle waits as Holy Cross School’s Dissandou Becolli spells.

Ms. Kim couldn’t spell “cuartel” in the end, but was right on “chroma,” “witlook,”pfeffernuss” and “schipperke” to get that far.

The final few spellers breezed through the list of 300 words that were provided beforehand, then had trouble with a list they hadn’t seen.

“That’s when it really got tough for everyone,” Ms. Sarwadi.

According to Mr. Doyle he survived until nearly the end by “getting a lot better at sounding out words.”

Dissandou Becolli of Holy Cross School in Dover was felled by “tanha” in the 24th round to finish in the top five.

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