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Henrico Spelling Bee champion Muthusamy closes out national career in tie for fifth

The four-time HCPS spelling champion finished tied for fifth in the contest Thursday out of 291 total regional champions.

RVAHub Staff

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Moody Middle School student Tejas Muthusamy made his final Scripps National Spelling Bee the best of his career. The four-time HCPS spelling champion finished tied for fifth in the contest Thursday, of the 291 regional champions. More than 11 million students began the contest journey at the local level, according to Scripps. The contest was held at National Harbor, near Washington, and the finals were televised live by ESPN.

His final bee was the eighth-grader’s third top-10 finish. He finished eighth in 2014 and seventh in 2015. The Scripps bee is open to students in eighth grade or below.

Muthusamy’s run finally ended in Round 12 when he was tripped up by the word “saussurite,” a mineral consisting of a tough, compact substance that is white, greenish or grayish and is produced at least in part by the alteration of feldspar. Among the words Muthusamy aced Thursday were “chryselephantine” (composed of gold and ivory); “xanthochroism” (an abnormal coloration of feathers in which yellow replaces the normal color, as in some parrots); and “melainotype” (a positive photograph made by a collodion process on a thin iron plate and having a darkened surface). Both spellers eliminated in Round 12 tied for fifth-place.

“I’m really grateful to everyone in Henrico and around the nation who supported me,” Muthusamy said.

“I think in 30 or 40 years – even five years, the results won’t matter as much as other things. I’ve learned a command of the English language, how to think under pressure and how to win and lose with grace. It’s hard to lose when you work so hard, but losing will come again in my life. Without the experience of competing with so many people watching, I wouldn’t be able to deal with it as well.”

Before winning his four HCPS championships against school champs from all 46 county elementary schools and 12 middle schools, Muthusamy twice finished as runner-up in the HCPS contest. Each of the past four years he has also powered past other Central Virginia champions in the Richmond Times-Dispatch Regional Spelling Bee, earning the right to advance to the Scripps national bee.

Muthusamy will attend high school at the Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School for Government and International Studies.

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