ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona girl bows out in semifinals of Scripps National Spelling Bee

May 29, 2024, 4:38 PM

Aliyah Alpert was eliminated in the semifinals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee on May 29, 2024...

Aliyah Alpert was eliminated in the semifinals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee on May 29, 2024. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — An Arizona girl was close to her second Scripps National Spelling Bee finals appearance, but she fell just short on Wednesday.

Aliyah Alpert spelled “omao” incorrectly in the semifinals, darting her chances of equaling her 2022 finalist run. She was one of the final eight eliminated before the field was trimmed to eight finalists.

“It was on-list, I totally knew the word, but I blanked. Choked,” Alpert told The Associated Press.

Before her elimination, the 13-year-old from Yavapai County had a perfect quarterfinal round run Wednesday morning that included spelling “heresiology” and “atticotomy” correctly.

The morning began with 148 spellers at the competition in National Harbor, Maryland. By the end of the first quarterfinal round, there were 59 left, and 46 of those got through a vocabulary round to reach the semifinals.

The finalists will return Thursday night, when the winner will receive a trophy and more than $50,000 in cash and prizes.

Run over for prolific Arizona speller

Alpert was the youngest finalist in 2022, misspelling the word “ajivika” in the opening round of the finals for a ninth-place finish.

She missed the bee entirely last year because she flubbed the word “recoup” in the Yavapai County spelling bee.

She won the 2024 Arizona Spelling Bee in March by spelling “volemic” correctly.

Alpert wasn’t the only Arizona speller to make it to the national bee this year.

Isabelle Garcia, 13, who attends Kyrene del Pueblo Middle School in Chandler, made it through the first two preliminary rounds Tuesday without fault before spelling “regisseur” incorrectly in the final preliminary round.

Garcia spelled “drahthaar” right and correctly defined “debutante” as making a formal entrance into society.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Arizona girl bows out in semifinals of Scripps National Spelling Bee