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Saturday, June 02, 2007

Written test weeds out Dyer speller in D.C.

Keertan Kini may be a master speller. But one very big, very rare word was too much for the Schererville kid to handle during the preliminary round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

The fatal word: bewusstseinslage. It's so obscure it's not even available at

Bewusstseinslage was on the 25-word written test each of the 286 contestants had to take during the preliminary round. Only 107 kids made the cut to the quarterfinals.

The 13-year-old seventh-grader at Dyer's Kahler Middle School said he was disappointed that he didn't advance. But then he considered just how hard the test was.

"To be one of the top 286, that's a pretty big accomplishment," Kini said.

And he's still eligible to participate next year and plans to -- although he'll be taking a much needed spelling-study break in the summer.

Kini wasn't the only 13-year-old seventh-grader from Northwest Indiana to compete in the bee. Michigan City's Erik Allten Troske, a student at Barker Middle School, also competed and was eliminated in the preliminary round.

Troske said bewusstseinslage also gave him trouble. He missed the cut to the next round by just one point but said he still enjoyed the experience.

"I could tell everyone's pretty nervous, but if you get the word right you feel good about it," he said of the event.

Troske's had a few busy weeks in Washington. Not only did he participate in the National Spelling Bee, but he also represented Indiana in the National Geographic Bee on May 23.

Troske's mother, Joy Troske, said her son was already planning on coming back next year.

Wednesday, his father, Paul Troske, said he was very proud of his son, even though he didn't advance in the spelling bee.

"The main thing is he had a good time and met some new people," Paul Troske said.

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