LAWRENCEVILLE - For the second consecutive year, Asad Ladhani cultivated success at the Gwinnett County Spelling Bee.
After runner-up Ryan Bhowmik misspelled "grivation," Ladhani correctly spelled that and "dicotyledon," which is a plant with two seed leaves, to become the 2009 champion of the county competition on Saturday.
Ladhani's winning word last year? "Poinsettia," a tropical shrub with yellow flowers and petal-like red leaves.
"I feel great," the Lanier Middle School sixth-grader said after winning the competition. "I was kind of nervous but kind of confident because I had experience of what a spelling bee is like."
Ladhani said he was "pretty confident" he would win after Bhowmik, a fifth-grader at Camp Creek Elementary School, incorrectly spelled his 23rd word of the oral competition. Ladhani knew "grivation" but "dicotyledon" gave him a moment's pause. He looked relieved when caller Leslie Sniff gave a second pronunciation of the word.
Bhowmik, who won $75 in the Gwinnett Daily Post-sponsored bee, tackled words including "megatonnage," "desultoriness" and "synoptophore" before he was eliminated.
"I thought I probably wouldn't win because he (Ladhani) is a really good speller and I saw him win last year," Bhowmik said.
Both Bhowmik and Ladhani, who won a $200 prize, said they plan to continue studying to prepare for the district spelling bee Feb. 28 at Collins Hill High School.
The 12 students who participated in the oral bee will also compete in the district competition. The fourth- through eighth-graders qualified for the oral bee by earning the highest number of points during the written bee Saturday morning. Students from 59 elementary schools and 19 middle schools participated in the written portion of the competition after winning their school spelling bee.
Naveed Khan, an eighth-grader at Sweetwater Middle School, was eliminated in the eighth round on "artogravure." The five-time county bee participant was last year's runner-up. He and the rest of the oral bee competitors each won a $25 prize.
In the third round, Khan had stepped up to the microphone to spell "ululate" when the competition stopped briefly because a protester for Erin Gardner, an eighth-grader at Shiloh Middle School, challenged her elimination on "thoracic." After reviewing the tape, the judges decided to readmit Gardner into the competition because her pronunciation of the word was not clear and she did not ask for a definition.
Meanwhile, Khan used the time to think about the word he had been asked to spell.
"At first, I thought I didn't know the word," he said. "But I thought about it ... and when my turn came up again, I spelled it."
Lucy Chuang, a fourth-grader at Chattahoochee Elementary, was the last contestant eliminated before the competition between Bhowmik and Ladhani began. She misspelled "nucleophilic."
"I'm glad I can compete in the next one (the district competition) also," Chuang said. "I like spelling a lot. It's fun to practice because I read a lot."
SideBar: Spelling Bee Competitors
The following students participated Saturday in the written portion of the Gwinnett County Spelling Bee:
Quinton Tran, fifth grade, Alcova Elementary
Amy Dang, fourth grade, Alford Elementary
Rondi Gayle, fifth grade, Annistown Elementary
Toby George, fourth grade, Arcado Elementary
Ethan Kim, fifth grade, B.B. Harris Elementary
Deisha Gould, fourth grade, Beaver Ridge Elementary
Moriah Johnson, fifth grade, Benefield Elementary
Sonia Lau, fourth grade, Berkeley Lake Elementary
Brianna Sayamounghkoune, fifth grade, Bethesda Elementary
Ndicke Sow, fourth grade, Britt Elementary
Matthew Evert, fifth grade, Brookwood Elementary
Johnathan Celestin, fourth grade, Cedar Hill Elementary
Ledell Garcia, fourth grade, Centerville Elementary
Monica Cheung, fifth grade, Chesney Elementary
Kristin Casella, fourth grade, Cooper Elementary
Saba Maheen, fifth grade, Corley Elementary
Madison Greene, fourth grade, Craig Elementary
Laura Ann Williams, fourth grade, Dacula Elementary
Stephanie Awtry, fifth grade, Duncan Creek Elementary
Brianna Bowen, fifth grade, Dyer Elementary
AJ Schulte, fourth grade, Fort Daniel Elementary
Diana Michael, fourth grade, Freeman's Mill Elementary
Terrence Lanha, fifth grade, Grayson Elementary
Sabarish Sainathan, fourth grade, Gwin Oaks Elementary
Kodey Davis, fifth grade, Harbins Elementary
Brendon Machado, fifth grade, Head Elementary
Bedria Durdana, fifth grade, Hopkins Elementary
Young Choi, fifth grade, Jackson Elementary
Madison McCullough, fourth grade, Kanoheda Elementary
Dung Charlie Pham, fourth grade, Knight Elementary
Azem Fezjic, fifth grade, Lawrenceville Elementary
McKenzie Cottle, fifth grade, Level Creek Elementary
Isaac Ramirez, fourth grade, Lilburn Elementary
Sarah Scoggins, fifth grade, Magill Elementary
J.J. Stewart, fifth grade, Mason Elementary
Mitchell Wagner, fourth grade, McKendree Elementary
Christopher Martin-Matney, fourth grade, Meadowcreek Elementary
Cayla Duncan, fifth grade, Mulberry Elementary
Trung Bui, fourth grade, Nesbit Elementary
Sarah Churvis, fifth grade, Norcross Elementary
Matthew Dalton, fifth grade Parsons Elementary
Joshua Okagie, fifth grade, Partee Elementary
Ester Lee, fifth grade, Peachtree Elementary
Dylan Wilson, fourth grade, Puckett's Mill Elementary
Anav Mittal, fourth grade, Riverside Elementary
Jarod Lewchuck, fifth grade, Rock Springs Elementary
Oliver Cortez, fifth grade, Rockbridge Elementary
Taliah Boyd, fourth grade, Rosebud Elementary
Devyn Flynn, fifth grade, Shiloh Elementary
Ryan Lokhorst, fifth grade, Simpson Elementary
Osiel Olmos, fifth grade, Stripling Elementary
Chandani Desai, fifth grade, Sugar Hill Elementary
Riley Conner, fifth grade, Suwanee Elementary
Connor Brown, fourth grade, Taylor Elementary
Caleb Perumal, fifth grade, Trip Elementary
Matthew Herbig, fifth grade, Walnut Grove Elementary
Yuman Bilal, fifth grade, Winn Holt Elementary
Sarah Tasneem, eighth grade, Berkmar Middle
Doan Le, seventh grade, Crews Middle
Maryann Heydari, seventh grade, Dacula Middle
Supriya Sajja, eighth grade, Five Forks Middle
Bailey Phillips, eighth grade, McConnell Middle
Nicolette Brown, sixth grade, Jones Middle
Quinton Boyd, seventh grade, Lilburn Middle
Samantha Abreu, eighth grade, Radloff Middle
Kye James, eighth grade, Trickum Middle
Source: Carey McDurmon, Gwinnett County Spelling Bee coordinator