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11-year-old San Diegan heads to Scripps National Spelling Bee

Posted at 4:35 PM, May 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-26 20:18:02-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — More than 230 superstar spellers will head to Washington D.C. next week for the Scripps National Spelling Bee, including San Diego 11-year-old Mihir Konkapaka.

"I don't want to get out on a word I already knew. That's my goal," said Mihir, a sixth grader at Poway Unified's Connect Academy. "If I lose on a word I've never seen before, could not have known anything about the spelling, that's okay."

Mihir's journey to nationals began after he won his own school's spelling bee, qualifying him for the county competition.

In preparation, he'd spend a couple hours each night doing zoom spelling sessions with his English teacher, Roxanne Hinchman.

It all paid off.

"I was driving my daughter and her friends to soccer practice, (a colleague) sent a text, my daughter reads it, 'Mihir won!' and I screamed and the girls in the backseat were like, is your mom okay?" she said. "I, like, started crying."

The spelling bee kicks off with the preliminary rounds next Tuesday, with the finals on Thursday. The winner gets a $50,000 cash prize.