But the final result wasn’t just a Texas two-step.
For Abhijay Kodali, a sixth-grader from McKamy Middle School in Flower Mound, his journey last year was a surprise for everyone.
“We thought he would do well, but we were not thinking something like that,” his father, Krishna Kodali, said.
Abhijay was the co-winner of the Dallas regional spelling bee in 2018 and finished in third place at nationals.
This was the first time in the competition’s history where the top three spellers came from the same region, said Scripps spokeswoman Valerie Miller.
Under the old system, usually fewer than 300 students participated in the national competition. To make it to nationals, a speller had to either win a regional or statewide bee. Scripps expanded the competition in 2018 to include an additional invitation program.
“RSVBee” allows students to apply who either won their school spelling bees or were previously finalists.
There will be plenty of attention on Naysa and Abhijay, but do not forget Rohan Raja.
Rohan, a seventh-grader from Coppell Middle School West, made his first appearance at nationals last year and finished tied for 10th.
Preparing for the bee
Just like sports, there is a seasonal process to the spelling bee.
Naysa said the week before the competition is stressful trying to get as much studying in before the competition.
Rohan’s dad, Raja Adaikalasamy, said it is a step-by-step process. For Rohan after the school spelling bee in the fall, things picked up in December preparing for regionals in March and even more after that. But the focus was always on preparing for nationals.
“We know he has a spot this year so we weren’t worrying about regionals. We were always preparing for the nationals,” said Rohan’s mom, Priya Damodharan.