National Spelling Bee: Katie Peterson misses ‘totipotency,’ does not advance

May 29th, 2013 | by Brett Kelman | Comments

Katie Peterson

UPDATED: Local speller Katie Peterson was eliminated from the national spelling bee after she missed “totipotency” in the third round of competition. Totipotency is defined as the ability to regenerate body parts.

Peterson successfully spelled “kirtle” in the second round of the bee. The first round was a written test.

A kirtle is a tunic or coat worn by men, especially in the Middle Ages. (Don’t worry, we had to look it up too.)

Katie Peterson appears Tuesday in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. (Screenshot from WatchESPN)

But can you use it in a sentence?

No joke — here is the sample sentence that was given to Peterson: “‘Uh-oh,’ said Alvin as he entered the church. ‘Why did I think the invitation said to wear a kirtle?’”

Katie Peterson appears Tuesday in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. (Screenshot from WatchESPN)

Fifteen spellers were eliminated in the second round, but 266 move on to the third round, which started at 10:15 a.m.

LIVE STREAM: Watch the Scripps National Spelling Bee online via WatchESPN

Preliminary rounds work a little differently than a traditional spelling bee. Round 1 was a written test taken by all spellers. Then each speller is asked to spell a single word in Rounds 2 and 3. If the spellers get both words correctly, then spelling bee officials will score their written test from Round 1. Only the top 50 spellers advance to the semi-final round. Even if a contestant correctly spells both words in the later rounds, they can still be eliminated by the results of their written test.

If you want to catch up on the spelling bee action that already happened, WatchESPN has a replay.

The competition is being held in Maryland. The semi-finals and finals will be shown on ESPN on Thursday.

Peterson, an eighth grader from Palm Desert Charter Middle School, represents all of Riverside County. She is the first speller from the Coachella Valley to reach the national bee in eight years.

Peterson won the Riverside bee by correctly spelling “tremulous.”

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