Sunil Ramrakhiani doesn't believe his son – The Journal Gazette's representative at the Scripps National Spelling Bee – when he credits his success to luck.
It's about ability meeting opportunity, Ramrakhiani said.
Whichever reason, Ishan Ramrakhiani, 13, hasn't run out of either. He is advancing to the bee's quarterfinals scheduled for Tuesday.
“I'm pretty nervous because all the rounds this time are going to be from anywhere in the dictionary,” Ishan said Sunday.
The Canterbury School student aced Saturday's preliminary rounds, correctly spelling “huapango” and “fescue” and defining “pallor” – the abnormal lack of color.
“Obviously, he's trying his best,” his father said. “He's carrying the flame for northeast Indiana.”
This year, spellers are competing virtually in the first three rounds of competition. Ten to 12 spellers will advance to the final, in-person rounds July 8 at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida.
The national spelling bee was canceled last year because of COVID-19.
Ishan said he was surprised he wasn't eliminated Saturday because he was uncertain about “fescue,” which he faced in the third and final preliminary round.
Afterward, Ishan checked the words he reviewed and realized that one was on the list, his father said. In this case, Ramrakhiani continued, his son's knowledge of the language of origin – French – helped.
Ishan's preparations include studying words he has misspelled, his father said.
Ramrakhiani expects his son will remember his national spelling bee experience regardless of the outcome.
“The journey,” he said, “is as important as the destination.”