Tara Huber, Utah's delegate to the National Spelling Bee here, had no problem with the scientific word for the study of ferns.
By correctly spelling pteridology, the 11-year-old Vernal spelling champ was one of the 130 fourth-round survivors.She then correctly spelled renaissance in the fifth round to continue into the afternoon sessions.
Fourteen young spellers were eliminated from Thursday's opening round on day two of the national competition with such words as dyslexiac, quotidian, irascibility, theodicy and mycophagous.
On Wednesday, 56 youngsters were dropped from the competition.
Tara's other words in the bee were velocity, turnstile and voltolization.
A daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Victor Huber and a sixth-grade student at Vernal Middle School, she won the Deseret News Spelling Bee April 8.
More than 150,000 youngsters throughout Utah participated in the program, and 40 district winners entered the finals in April. Nationally, an estimated 8-9 million students were involved on the local level.
Following a brief break Thursday morning, the 130 fourth-round spellers returned for the next round before lunch.
Along with Tara's parents cheering her on in the audience are two sisters. One, Colleen, placed fifth in a recent Deseret News Spelling Bee.
Tara said she has been able to spell most of the words given to other spellers. She was pleased to receive renaissance for her fifth word "although I could have spelled the others," she said.
Spelling Bee highlights:
-The spelling bee has possibly greater individual news coverage than the Moscow summit conference held this week. Most of the 200 sponsoring newspapers had representatives along with news-gathering or ganizations, more than 30 professional television news cameramen, scores of home video cameras and hundreds of still cameras.
-The winner will go to New York City to appear on morning television shows and then be flown to California for a guest appearance on the Johnny Carson show Wednesday.
-Many of the National Spelling Bee staff members are former spelling champions. One, Katie Kerwin, 1979 winner, is an English graduate of Colorado College in Colorado Springs. Her assignment is to turn quickly to each word in the official dictionary to answer any questions a speller may have regarding language origin or other forms of pronouncing a word.
-As the words became more difficult, most of the spellers buy more time by asking for a definition, the use of the word in a sentence, its origin, and then for a repeat of the word by Alex J. Cameron, the word pronouncer.
-Body language was as eloquent as the spelling itself for the youngsters. Facial expression was usually the first indication of whether the speller knew the word. Then their stature, whether shrugging or standing firm, gave further measure of their confidence.
-Humor had its part in the spelling bee Thursday. When Robin Covey of Harper Woods, Mich., stepped to the microphone, one of the judges accidentally struck the penalty bell. Robin asked, "Gee, can't I even get to pronounce the word first?" His word, eschatological, was spelled correctly.
-The youngest speller, Iris Liu, Muncie, Ind., survived the fourth round by correctly spelling mordacious. Iris defeated 49 other spellers in her local contest to win a trip to the national bee.