Continuing its quest for the best speller in the community, the 12th annual South Asian Spelling Bee traveled to California, Maryland, North Carolina, Washington, D.C., and New Jersey last month for regional competitions.

This year’s regional competitions had among its largest turnouts yet, attracting some top talent as well as young and new spellers who competed for the coveted prizes and titles, the Bee said in a news release.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, Nidhi Vadlamudi of Santa Clara was the regional champion and Vayun Krishna of Sunnyvale was the first runner-up.

In the nation’s capital, Aryan Nindra of Leesburg, Virginia, along with Nilla Rajan of Chillicothe, Ohio, were named co-champions.

In Charlotte, Maya Jadhav from Fitchburg, Wisconsin, was the regional champ and Ekansh Rastogi of Heathrow, Florida, was the first runner-up,

In Dallas, Pranav Nandakumar of Austin, Texas, was the regional champ and Hepzibah Sujoe of Fort Worth, Texas, was the first runner-up.

And in the New Jersey region, Navneeth Murali from Edison, New Jersey, was the regional winner and Advitiya Jadhav of Princeton Junction, New Jersey, was the first runner-up.

The event is open to children of South Asian descendants up to 14 years of age.

“For the past 12 years, the Bee has consistently provided a firm platform for the community to come together and hone their craft. It’s become a family activity that contributes towards the overall development of the child,” said Rahul Walia, founder of the South Asian Spelling Bee and CEO of Touchdown Media Inc., the company that organizes the event.

Within the past year the South Asian Spelling Bee has been featured in the documentary, "Breaking the Bee.”

The top two spellers of each regional competition advance to the finals to be held in New Jersey on Aug. 8 and the championship prize is $3,000.

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