OXON HILL, Md. — After two semifinal rounds, the National Spelling Bee field has been cut to 21 competitors.
Those still remaining included the sister of the 2009 winner, one five-time participant and two international spellers.
Nine were eliminated in the first semifinal round, and another 20 went out in the second round.
Ten-year-old Vanya Shivashankar of Olathe, Kan. was the only speller to earn a perfect score in the preliminary rounds. She appeared to have little trouble spelling "mumpsimus" and "mascalage." Her sister, Kavya, won the Scripps National Spelling Bee three years ago.
Nicholas Rushlow of Pickerington, Ohio, has been in the bee every year since 2008. He also got through the first two words. He's wearing the same yellow polo shirt he's donned the past three years.