Spelling Bee: Minnesota teen's run ends in semifinals


Mark Kivimaki went to Washington D.C. with 280 of the nation's top spellers.

The Minnesota teenager made it all the way to the final 46 before he missed a beat.

The 13-year-old Kivimaki was eliminated in the sixth round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee Thursday by the word "Ananke" – defined as "a personification of compelling necessity or ultimate fate to which even the gods must yield" by Merriam-Webster. Earlier in the day, he correctly spelled the word "ebullition" (the act, process, or state of boiling or bubbling up) in round five.

Kivimaki's profile lets you view all the words he was asked to spell, his vocabulary tests, and some of the words he was given during local competition.

The seventh-grader is the son of son of Eden Prairie High School science teacher/track coach Bruce Kivimaki, according to Eden Prairie News. He currently attends Valley View Middle School in Edina – and the school let him know they were rooting for him.

Five Minnesotans Compete

Kivimaki was one of five Minnesotans who competed in the national portion of the competition. He correctly spelled the words “echt” (meaning real, authentic, genuine) and “proselyte” (meaning a convert, a true believer) in the two live rounds on Wednesday, and was the only one to reach Thursday's semifinals. Competitors also took a written spelling and vocabulary test before the live rounds began, which was included in the calculation of their scores.

The other four Minnesota students who participated in the preliminary round are:

– Brainerd eighth-grader Lauren Crabtree, 14, of Forestview Middle School, who correctly spelled “chauvinism” and “veridical.”

– Eighth-grader Shane DeSilva, 14, from Pacelli Catholic Schools in Austin, who correctly spelled “serdab” and “tiffen.”

– Seventh-grader Alyssa Boynton, 13, from Murray County Central in Slayton, who correctly spelled “embarcadero” and missed the spelling of “haricot.”

– Eighth-grader Kellen Rodriguez, 14, from the Fairmont School District, who correctly spelled “boswell” and missed the spelling of “equipollent.”

There are 12 spellers who are advancing to tonight's final round, based on a cumulative score from the preliminaries and semifinals. It starts at 7 p.m. CST and will be aired on ESPN.

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