Regional champ from Keller carries family tradition to National Spelling Bee

Though her first competitive experience in the event is nascent, Brihasa Veduru is certainly not unacclimated with the forthcoming environs in which she hopes to soon be contending.

However you choose to verbalize it, Veduru, a fifth-grader at Bear Creek Intermediate School in Keller, is headed to the Scripps National Spelling Bee Tuesday through Saturday at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. She qualified after winning the regional competition at TCU on March 7.

She’s been there before, though this is her first time as a contestant. Her older sister, Vivinsha, competed in the elite event the past two years with great success, and Brihasa was there to cheer her on and wait her turn.

And Vivinsha couldn’t be prouder of her younger sibling continuing to carry the family torch.

“I am super excited to see Brihasa compete at the Nationals. I am very proud of her for working diligently this year to make it to the Nationals,” Vivinsha said.

In winning regionals, Brihasa successfully spelled the word folate. Among words, she had to conquer along the way were aphasia and ferruginous.

“Having been to the TCU regionals for three years to cheer my sister, it felt surreal to win,” she said. “I placed second to my sister at the area bee last year, so I was ecstatic to win this year. It did take a few days to sink in.”

With 16 champions, Texas has the most in the national event. The eight champions from North Texas are one more than all of Pennsylvania, the state with the second most winners.

North Texas had three champions in 2019 when an interesting scenario occurred at the national bee: officials determined they had run out of words to challenge contestants and crowned eight winners.

Last year’s winner was from Texas, Harini Logan of San Antonio. He successfully spelled moorhen to finish the competition.

Fort Worth has two winners. Ansun Sujoe was the champion in 2014 and Barrie Tinkler took the title in 1973.

And Brihasa hopes to add her name to the prestigious list. She understands the challenge that awaits her.

“The hardest to spell will be the words with unknown origin and trademark words as they may not offer any clues to spelling,” she said.

Also, the competition is all against all. There are no age or grade brackets. Participants cannot be older than 14 as of Aug. 31 of the year before the competition, nor can they be past the eighth grade as of Feb. 1 of that year’s competition.

Previous champions are also ineligible to compete.

“We are thrilled that Brihasa has a strong passion for words, which she has demonstrated since elementary school through her understanding of their meaning and parts,” Area 13 Scripps Spelling Bee Coordinator Misty Shea said. “We have no doubt that Brihasa will make Keller ISD proud in Nationals, as she has worked tirelessly to get to this point. We are incredibly proud of her achievements.”

Brihasa, who is already thinking about a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math), said she prepares for the competition daily by studying roots, language rules, and words.

“My favorite way to study is by typing words after reading all the required information about the word,” she said.

When she’s not studying or preparing for competition, Brihasa’s hobbies include modeling miniature figures in clay. She also enjoys sketching, creating mobile apps and composing music on the piano.

Brihasa knows from experience that the trip will not only be about competition. It will include some family vacation time. Two years ago the competition was held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Bay Lake, Florida, and last year it returned to the Washington, D.C., area.

So Brihasa and her family are quite familiar with where they are going.

“We plan to visit various historical places there. The Smithsonian museum is one of my favorites in DC,” she said.

And when she does compete, Brihasa plans to do what she does best and have a good time above all.

“I have been working hard for the past couple of months and plan to enjoy the experience of spelling on the national stage,” she said. “I will take it one word at a time and cherish the memories made.”