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Slideshow Neetu Chandak has just misspelled "derriengue," but she maintains a high spirit.

(Courtesy Scripps Nat'l Spelling Bee, Related Links List of semifinalistsWashington D.C.

(WSYR-TV / AP) â€" A central New York middle school student made a valiant effort, but has fallen short of her quest to become the next Scripps National Spelling Bee champion.

Neetu Chandak, of Seneca Falls, misspelled "derriengue" -- leaving out an R -- and was eliminated in the eighth round of the competition.She correctly spelled her first word in the finals, "ophelimity".

Thirteen-year-old Kavya Shivashankar of Olathe, Kansas, aced the word "Laodicean" (lay-OD-uh-CEE-uhn) Thursday night�to win the 82nd Scripps National Spelling Bee.

At least 75 of Chandak's classmates and teachers showed up to the Seneca Falls Middle School cafeteria to cheer her on Thursday night.

They say that although she lost, she is still a winner to them.Melinda Pearce, Chandak's English teacher and after-school tutor, says she trained and practiced throughout the year and in to the summer.

She expects that when Neetu returns, she'll start studying again, in hopes to make it back to the national stage next year for a fourth -- and�final -- try.

Chandak, a 13-year-old seventh grader at Seneca Falls Middle School, spelled "sententious", "perciatelli" and "dauerlauf" correctly during the semifinal round earlier Thursday.�Pearce says Neetu puts in about 20 hours a week studying her spelling during the school year, and 40 hours a week during school breaks.A record 293 spellers - including one from China - took�part in the�bee.

Chandak�correctly spelled "tribunal" in the second round and "picayune" in the third to earn her seat at Thursday's semifinal.

Two other local contestants, Jacob "Jake" Annal, a 14-year-old eighth grader at Oswego Middle School and Katie Schumacher, a 13-year-old seventh grader at Ray Middle School, both fell short of the semis.

For Annal, it was his third straight trip to Washington; it's his second straight time in the national spelling bee, and back in 2007 he traveled to watch his sister Haley compete.The competition began Tuesday, when all the spellers took a written test.

The scores from that test were combined with the results from Wednesday's oral rounds to determine the semifinalists.For winning the bee, Shivashankar�takes home more than $40,000 in cash and prizes.
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