Houston area spellers make it deep into national spelling bee

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Updated 9:46 pm, Thursday, June 1, 2017

Two Houston-area students made it deep Thursday evening into the finals of the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Maryland.

But Raksheet Kota, a 14-year-old from Katy, was knocked out about 9 p.m. with only five spellers left after misspelling “oedemerid.”

Shourav Dasari, a 14-year-old from Spring, remained as one of the final four spellers competing until about 9:45 p.m.


It was Kota’s first time to the national spelling bee, but he also easily spelled difficult words through multiple rounds.

His twin sister closed her eyes as her brother carefully spelled different words such as “bouchee” or “izzat.”

Raksheet’s twin sister is also a competitive speller – missed qualifying last year after he struck out with “ailsyte,” a rock composed of alkalic migrogranite. Now 14 and in his last year to compete, the Spring speller finally made the cut for the national bee.

Dasari started spelling competitively a year after his sister Shobha Dasari brought home a flyer advertising the elementary school spelling bee. Shobha took home top honors at the Houston Public Media Spelling Bee and qualified for the Scripps national competition four times.

She’s since aged out of the competition, but Shourav is doing his best to fill his big sister’s shoes.

On Thursday evening, he breezed through words “concours” and “oncochaeta.” During the 10th round with only six spellers left, he carefully spelled “pterygoideus.”

The 14-year-old said his dream meet-up would be with Rockets player James Harden.

Last year, Shourav told the Chronicle his training is a year-round effort that takes up about eight hours a week. His efforts paid off when he won the 2015 MetLife South Asian Spelling Bee and the 2015 North South Foundation Spelling Bee.

But he didn’t earn a spot at nationals till 2016, a feat he repeated again this year when he co-qualified with Raksheet Kota, of Katy.

Keri Blakinger contributed to this report


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