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Swikar Patel | Driver's Side Films for The Journal Gazette
Lutheran South Unity School seventh-grader Lwin Moe Aung, 13, of Fort Wayne, spells "batik" correctly and advances to round 3 during the Scripps National Spelling Bee at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md.

National bee: Fort Wayne speller eliminated

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - Lwin Moe Aung of Fort Wayne failed Wednesday to advance to the semifinals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

He in fact came up short a day earlier, when the 281 spellers took computer-based spelling and vocabulary tests.

Lwin Moe, 13, correctly spelled both of his words - "batik" and "suscitate" - in Wednesday's oral-spelling rounds. But his accumulated score from the preliminary rounds was not among the 46 highest required to stay in contention.

"He tried his best. Not the right answers," his father, Than Aung, said after the semifinalists were announced at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center.

Than Aung said his son studied 2,000 words ahead of the bee. Lwin Moe practiced 600 words on his laptop computer between oral rounds Wednesday.

The tournament field will be whittled to a dozen finalists and a champion Thursday. Only one of the 14 spellers from Indiana reached the semifinals - Alekhya Ankaraju, 13, of Carmel.

The winner will receive more than $33,000 in cash and prizes.

Lwin Moe is a seventh-grade student at Lutheran South Unity School. He got to the 87th national bee by winning The Journal Gazette Regional Spelling Bee in March.

Lwin Moe has a year of eligibility remaining, but he said after the semifinalists were announced that he does not intend to participate in his school bee again - he has won it four straight years - because his 10-year-old brother, Soe Moe, will be entering it.

  • For more photos of Lwin Moe Aung in the competition, click here.