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Chuck Haga, Forum Communications, Published May 31 2012

'Pratincolous' ends Northwood boy's run at National Spelling Bee

GRAND FORKS – The North Dakota farm boy was tripped up by a word referring to living in a meadow.

Ty Korsmo, the 12-year-old from Northwood, representing the state in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., missed spelling “pratincolous” when his turn came in Thursday’s semifinal round.

Ty substituted an “e” for the “a” and was out.

The adjective, with Latin origins, can also mean “in low grassy situations,” a contest official told the boy.

Of 278 state and regional champions from all over the United States, its territories and eight other countries, Ty was one of 50 semifinalists who made it through three preliminary rounds of competition.

Five other semifinalists had failed to spell their words correctly before Ty took to the stage.

Ty was accompanied to the national spelldown by his parents, Debbie and Mark Korsmo, and three siblings, who like Ty are home-schooled.

Snigdha Nandipati won the competition Thursday night.

The 14-year-old from San Diego spelled guetapens, a French-derived word that means ambush, snare or trap. Calm and collected throughout, she beat out eight other finalists in the nerve-wracking, brain-busting competition.

Nandipati is an avid reader and coin collector who aspires to become a psychiatrist or neurosurgeon.

Stuti Mishra of West Melbourne, Fla., finished second after misspelling “schwarmerei.”


The Associated Press contributed to this report