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Solana Beach Eighth-Grader Eliminated From National Spelling Bee

Earl Warren Middle School eighth-grader Alex B.Kahng was eliminated today from the 83rd Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

Kahng correctly spelled "retinue'' and "Hennebique'' in the second and third rounds of the bee. But his score on the first-round, 50-word computer test taken Wednesday was not enough to propel him into the field of 50 semifinalists.

The semifinal round will begin at 7 a.m. California time Friday and be shown live on ESPN. A contestant is generally eliminated when he or she misspells a word.

The championship round will begin at 5 p.m. California time Friday and will be shown on ABC on a tape-delayed basis on the West Coast beginning at 8 p.m.

The bee is limited to students in eighth grade or below, with this year's contestants ranging in age from 8 to 15, with 80 percent between the ages of 12 to 14.

English is not the first language of 21 spellers and 102 spellers speak languages other than English.

Kahng, 14, also participates in both middle school and high school math competitions and hopes to become a math professor. He also plays in table tennis tournaments. An aunt, Lyn Sue Kahng, finished second in the 1978 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

The spelling bee's winner will receive $30,000 from Scripps, which owns television stations and newspapers, a $5,000 scholarship from the Sigma Phi Epsilon Educational Foundation, a $2,500 U.S. savings bond from the dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster, and reference works from Encyclopaedia Britannica valued at $2,700.

Southern California has produced only one champion of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which began in 1925, Anurag Kashyap of Poway, the 2005 winner.

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