WASHINGTON -- After battling for five rounds, San Ramon resident Audrey Bantug was eliminated on the word "polytocous" in the Scripps National Spelling Bee semifinals on Thursday, placing 25th out of 281 spellers.
Audrey had spelled "oread," a Greek word for mountain nymph, correctly in round five, but tripped up on "polytocous," which means to bear many young at one time. The 13-year-old was second in a string of seven spellers to be eliminated from the competition during round six.
Arvind Mahankali, of New York City, won the championship in the 15th round by correctly spelling "knaidel," a type of dumpling. Pranav Sivakumar, of Lake County, Ill., slipped on the spelling of "cyanophycean," a type of blue-green algae, to give Mahankali the chance to win.
Forty-two spellers took the stage at the beginning of the semifinals Thursday morning; Audrey was the only Bay Area resident to advance to round five.
During the preliminary competition on Wednesday, Audrey correctly spelled "prosciutto" and "umami" to advance to the final day of competition on Thursday.
The other two Bay Area contestants -- Neha Konakalla, 13, of Cupertino, and Cecilia Trujillo, 13, of Monterey County -- also spelled their words correctly but were eliminated after the results from their computer-based vocabulary tests were factored into their scores.
The computer-based vocabulary tests are a first for the 2013 competitors, with the 88th annual event being the first in Scripps history to require students to define words in addition to spelling them.
While only 41 competitors advanced to the semifinals at the end of Wednesday's preliminaries, a 42nd speller was added later that evening after officials concluded that two of the words on the preliminary vocabulary test had alternate spellings in addition to those initially accepted by the Bee.