I might be a sports business reporter, but I’m also the leading handicapper of the Spelling Bee.
The winners have always been part of my top 10 or top 5 list and last year, my number one pick Kavya Shivashankar won it all.
Last year, Kavya was part of a list of four, the smallest group I ever put together.
This year, since I’m a little bit late on this one with the Finals tomorrow, I’ll challenge myself to a list of just three.
1. Aditya Chemudupaty, Speller No. 237
Although he’s only a two-time repeater, I liked his confidence last year in his 12th place finish. I also like the sports angle. He attends Nolan Ryan Junior High School in Alvin, Texas and his favorite player is Tony Romo. It’s hard to deny the fact that the males have won this contest eight out of the last 10 times.
2. Anamika Veeramani, Speller No. 185
A speller from Ohio hasn’t won the Scripps National Spelling Bee since 1964, which is also the last time the Browns won it all. But last year in Veeramani’s fifth place finish, she was cool under pressure. Who wouldn’t get stumped on fackeltanz?
3. Neetu Chandak, Speller No. 155
You never know what the local competition is like, but one thing that I’ve learned in handicapping the Bee over the years is that experienced spellers win. Chandak, a 14-year-old from Seneca Falls, NY, has the most experience of any speller, having made it to Washington D.C. for four straight years.
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