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Culver City student fails to make finals of National Spelling Bee

CULVER CITY — A seventh-grader from Culver City Middle School failed to advance to the championship finals of the 88th Scripps National Spelling Bee Thursday, despite correctly spelling both of his two semifinal words.

Cooper Komatsu did not score high enough on two multiple-choice spelling and vocabulary tests taken Tuesday and Wednesday to be among the 10 spellers to qualify for the championship finals. A minimum of 61 points out of a maximum 72 was required.

The scores of the spellers who failed to reach the championship finals were not disclosed.

Komatsu correctly spelled “inessive” as he began competing in the semifinals at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. He then correctly spelled “Dicynodon.”

“Inessive” is an adjective meaning of a grammatical case, denoting position or location within. “Dicynodon” is a genus of herbivorous semiaquatic Permian reptiles.

The bee ended in a tie for the fifth time and second consecutive year when Gokul Venkatachalam of St. Louis correctly spelled “nunatak,” a hill or mountain completely surrounded by glacial ice, and there were no longer enough words remaining on the championship list for another complete round.

The final word correctly spelled by co-champion Vanya Shivashankar of Olathe, Kansas was “scherenschnitte,” a German word for the art of cutting paper into decorative designs.

Komatsu won the Culver City Unified School District and Los Angeles County spelling bees to qualify for the national competition.

It was the second year in a row he won the district competition.