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Little Rock girl wins top prize at state bee for second year

Posted: March 1, 2014 at 3:30 p.m.

Speller No. 7, Chythanya Murali, 13, of Little Rock competes Wednesday, May 29, 2013, in preliminary rounds of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in National Harbor, Md. Chythanya aced her words —“perestroika” and “senary” — in the oral competition but did not make the semifinals cut in the written challenge, which for the first time asked spellers to provide definitions.

A Little Rock eighth-grader has spelled her way to the top once again, earning the opportunity to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., for her second-straight year.

Chythanya Murali, a 13-year-old student at LISA Academy charter school in Little Rock, won first place at the Arkansas State Spelling Bee on Saturday over 55 other county bee winners.

Jackson Parker of Greene County placed second while Sam Bishop of Washington County placed third.

Students from grades second through eighth took to the stage in Reynolds Performance Hall at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway in attempt to win the chance to represent Arkansas in the 87th Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee in May.

The first-place prize includes an all-expenses-paid trip to the national bee.

Chythanya aced her words the preliminary rounds of the Scripps National Spelling Bee last year, but her score on the computer test — a portion of the competition that combines spelling with vocabulary knowledge and was first introduced in 2013 — did not advance her to the semifinals.

The Arkansas State Spelling Bee is sponsored annually by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Read Sunday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for more details about the bee, including Chythanya's winning word.

Aziza Musa contributed to this story.

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