NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Amna Raza, a 14-year-old eighth-grader from Las Vegas, failed to advance in the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee despite going two-for-two Wednesday in the public part of the competition.
Of the 281 spellers who competed at the Gaylord National Resort &Convention Center outside Washington, D.C., only 46 were selected to continue Thursday into the semifinals that will be aired on ESPN2. Most were eliminated based on the results of a spelling and vocabulary test taken on Tuesday.
“She did good and I’m proud of her,” said Amna’s mother, Nureen Raza.
Amna suffered the same fate as last year, when she also represented Nevada in the national competition and did well spelling before a ballroom audience but fell short.
Despite that, “It was a really good experience,” she said afterward. She was one of 78 spellers making a return try at the bee.
In the first public round of the contest on Wednesday, Raza correctly spelled “alkali,” the water-soluble chemical that reacts with acids to form salts.
In the afternoon round, Raza spelled “diagrammatic,” an adjective to describe something shaped like a diagram.
Last year, Raza, a student at Omar Haikal Islamic Academy, successfully spelled “hypocrisy” and “dactylogram” during the stage portions of the bee.
Amna, who studied about four hours a day in advance of the nationals, said earlier she was “feeling good” about her chances to advance beyond the afternoon round.
Her father, Ali Raza, who owns a pharmacy in Las Vegas, said the whole family was confident she would advance because of her hard work. Her aunt, Nauvila Qureshi, traveled from Pakistan to watch her compete.
Brother, Bilal, was clearly anxious as her name was not called as a semifinalist. Too young to compete next year, Bilal has his eyes set on 2016 for a chance at a trophy.
Raza was sponsored by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The family planned to watch the competition on Thursday, and will also do some sightseeing in the nation’s capital before returning home, Ali Raza said.
Contact Peter Urban at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-783-1760. Find him on Twitter: @PUrbanDC.