Update: OC champ places 12th overall in 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee

Updated at 9 a.m. on May 31

Nicholas D’Sa eliminated in 12th round

Nicholas D’Sa finished in 12th place after surviving through 12 tough rounds of the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee held in Washington, D.C.

Nicholas misspelled “jalap,” meaning the dried tuberous root of a Mexican plant, mistakenly adding an extra “l” to the word. But he finished ahead of more than 500 competitors who qualified for the National Bee — and earned a $2,000 cash prize.

The Tustin eighth-grader competed in the final rounds in front of close to 1 million television viewers who watched the broadcast live on ESPN.

The Bee eventually crowned eight winners in a wild ending. Organizers said they were running out of words as competitors kept correctly spelling almost everything put before them.


Updated at 1:30 p.m. on May 30

Nicholas D’Sa survives past the eighth round; finals to be broadcast tonight

Our Orange County Spelling Bee champion is among the final 16 competitors of the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee being held today Washington, D.C.

Nicholas D’Sa correctly spelled “huiscoyol,” in round 8 this afternoon. For those who aren’t botanists or haven’t been to Costa Rica recently, a huiscoyol is a shrubby palm found in Central America.

For making it past the seventh round, Nicholas is guaranteed a $2,000 cash prize.

The finals will be broadcast live tonight on ESPN beginning at 5:30 p.m.


Updated at 9:10 a.m. on May 30

Nicholas D’Sa among the top 50 spellers

Tustin eighth-grader Nicholas D’Sa has advanced to the final rounds of the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

Nicholas correctly spelled “basileus” in round 4 this morning to place among the top 50 spellers in the competition.


Published at 9:22 a.m. on May 29

OC duo moves on to 4th round of the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee

The two Orange County competitors in the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee have survived the first three rounds.

Tustin eighth-grader Nicholas D’Sa correctly spelled “macronutrient” on Wednesday to qualify for the fourth round, joining Newport Beach seventh-grader Dean Alkhairy, who correctly spelled “bicuspids.”

Two students hold up trophies
Nicholas D’Sa, left, and Dean Alkhairy are competing in the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Nicholas, who won the Orange County Spelling Bee in March, and Dean, the OC runner-up, are among nearly 300 students from across the country remaining in the competition being held this week in Washington, D.C.

Nicholas attends St. Cecilia Catholic School in Tustin, while Dean is a student at Fairmont Private School in North Tustin.

The competition is streaming live this week on ESPN.  You can also track Nicholas and Dean’s progress on the Spelling Bee’s website.

By qualifying for round 4, Nicholas and Dean are guaranteed a $500 gift card. Prizes escalate the farther they progress in the tournament. First place earns a student a $50,000 cash prize.