CEDARVILLE — Sophia Lopez knew that someone on a junket was taking a trip.
And now the the Cedarville Middle School seventh grader is close to going on a junket of her own … to the Scripps National Spelling Bee finals. Lopez, 13, is one of 30 to make it through six grueling rounds of spelling and vocabulary to advance to the June 27 semifinals.
After acing the three preliminary rounds, Lopez correctly spelled hygrometer and compotator, along with correctly picking the aforementioned definition to make it out of Tuesday’s quarterfinals, which began with 75 other super spellers.
“It is so great to actually be a competitor in the semifinals,” Lopez said via text message shortly after completing the quarterfinals. “A lot of hard work has culminated up to this point. I am extremely excited and I am so grateful for my friends and family who have coached and supported me for a long time.”
Because of the pandemic, the first three segments are being held virtually. At any point, if a competitor misspells a word or picks the wrong answer in vocabulary, they are eliminated. The prelims — which began with 209 spellers — and quarterfinals each had three rounds. Seventeen were eliminated in round four, 16 in round five and 12 in round six.
After being told by the judge she was moving on, Lopez — who was fairly stoic during the early rounds — flashed a big smile.
“I was just so happy that I was moving on,” she said. “I was nervous because I didn’t really know how hard the words would be. That moment was just pure joy after the stress of the day.”
The semifinals consist of rounds of oral competition beginning with round seven (spelling), followed by round eight (multiple-choice word meaning) and continuing with a round or rounds of spelling competition until the officials declare the end of the semifinals. Between 10-12 will advance to the finals, according to the spelling bee website.
The semifinals are set to run from 7-11 p.m. on ESPN2 and ESPN U, according to the the website.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.