Four New Jersey students make it to National Spelling Bee finals

Thursday’s final round of the 92nd Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee is a big night for four of New Jersey’s best spellers.

Middle schoolers Navneeth Murali, Shruthika Padhy and Christopher Serrao are back for a second try at the championship. But it’s a first for sixth grader Aritra Banerjee.

They’ll be vying to become only the third New Jersey speller ever to win the bee. Katharine Close took the crown in 2006 by correctly spelling “ursprache.” Back in 1971, Jonathan Knisely won with “shalloon.”

Update: Padhy, of Cherry Hill, and Serrao, of Whitehouse Station, were among eight competitors that were finally declared co-champions of the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee after officials went through 20 rounds and couldn’t trip students up. Shruthika nailed her win by correctly spelling aiguillette, a uniform ornament. Christopher correctly spelled cernuous, a drooping plant.