3 Chicago-area kids make spelling bee semi-finals

May 31, 2012 (WASHINGTON)

The answer: cancrivorus. And Pranav Sivakumar, 12, of Tower Lakes, Ill., knows how to spell it. That word led Sivakumar, a seventh-grader at Barrington Middle School, into the finals at the National Spelling Bee on Thursday morning.

Simon Ricci, 14, a student from the Latin School of Chicago also advanced into the finals after spelling nephropathy, which means kidney disease or damage.

Ricci and Sivakumar both got out in the second round of the semi-finals, spelling their second words incorrectly, aoristic and oecus, respectively.

A third Chicago area student, Marlene Santora, 13, of North Riverside, Ill., also made it in to the semi-finals, which consisted of 50 students. She lost in the first round of the Thursday morning competition when she left out a "d" in the word "freddo." She attends Komarek School.

At just six years old, Lori Anne Madison of Lake Ridge, Virginia, was the youngest to compete in the National Spelling Bee. She was out in the preliminaries, misspelling two of her words on Wednesday.

The National Spelling Bee finals will air on ESPN at 7 p.m. CDT Thursday.

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