The competition at the Gaylord resort just outside Washington, D.C., started Monday with a written test that will be used later to help determine the field for the finals, which are Thursday.
The 567 spellers are split into five groups for the on-stage spelling; everyone gets two words. Vinay and Kayla Barnes, a seventh-grader at George McCann Memorial Catholic School in Visalia, were in the first group of 114, meaning they got both of their words Tuesday. The rest of the spellers go Wednesday, and then the finalists (no more than 50) will be announced.
Achuth, a fourth-grader at Clovis Unified school Fugman Elementary in Fresno, is the younger brother of 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee champion Ananya Vinay.
The Fresno Bee is sponsoring Achuth’s trip, which he secured by winning the Fresno County bee.
Ken Engel, adviser for the Fugman Elementary Spelling Team, said Anyana, now an eighth-grader at Granite Ridge Intermediate in Clovis Unified, has been coaching Achuth and other members of the team.
Barnes correctly spelled daikon (a winter radish) but missed on coffering (storing or hoarding; she spelled it cophering). Kayla is sponsored by the Visalia Tiimes-Delta/Tulare Advance-Register.