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Manteca, Ripon spellers make it to top 15
Joshua Cowell eighth grader Sean Melan pauses for a moment between words while sitting next to August Knodt seventh grader Ryleigh Yodong during the San Joaquin County Office of Education 2017 Spelling Bee at the Wentworth Education Center. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

A pair of Tracy area students captured the San Joaquin County Spelling Bee on Wednesday.
Tracy High freshman Darshini Sridharan edged out Jefferson Elementary School eighth-grade student Pranav Jayakumar in the Junior Division by correctly spelling ‘expedite.’
Both will represent SJC in May at the California State Spelling Bee at the Marin County Office of Education.
Several local students were among the Top 15 in the seventh- through- ninth- grade group. According to Students Events & Activities Director Annie Cunial, each of the 44 participants in that field were allowed to miss three words in the written competition.
“The older students don’t have the pressure of the younger ones in standing (at the lectern) and spelling the words out,” she said.
More on the Elementary Division later.
Joshua Cowell eighth grader Sean Melan and August Knodt seventh grader Ryliegh Yodong, both representing Manteca Unified, were among that last group as was Ripon Unified’s Ashley Dillman.
The Park View eighth-grade student was in a similar position from that of last year. She bowed out after missing on ‘meticulous.’
Melan and Yodong exited moments later, stumped by ‘sibilance.’
Other locals in the field included Annalies Vander Meulen (Ripon Christian), Rylee Williamson (New Jerusalem), April Yan (Ripon Elementary), Elijah Bailey (Delta Bridges), Kenji Bangi (Colony Oak), Taylor Barnes (St. Anthony’s), Abigail Bautista (Joseph Widmer), Garret Castro (Ripon Elementary), and Karikat Cheema (River Island).
In the Elementary Division, Rohin Prashanth, a fifth grader from Wicklund  (Lammersville Unified), squeaked past St. Anne’s fifth grader Katie Rore by correctly spelled ‘basilisk.’
Rore missed on ‘coquette.’
Both will be back at SJCOE, representing the county in California State Spelling Bee in May.
Locally, Christina Nguyen, a sixth-grade student from Joshua Cowell, representing MUSD, made it to the eighth round.
She had to spell ‘acreage,’ ‘audience,’ ‘glimpse,’ ‘congenial,’ ‘contagious,’ and ‘clientele.’
St. Anthony’s sixth grader Brett Shaw reached the seventh round. His words were ‘alfalfa,’ ‘menace,’ ‘arbitrary,’ ‘ludicrous,’ and ‘detritus.’
Ripon Elementary sixth grader Jack Schooland made it to the sixth round. He was given ‘costume,’ ‘faucet,’ ‘secure,’ ‘evidence,’ ‘precipice,’ and ‘nuptials.’