SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — A 14-year-old teen from Salt Lake City is picking up momentum this year as he’s now among the top 11 young spellers making it to the final day at the 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Surya Kapu, also known as Speller 213, is one of the two Utah contestants featured in this year’s competition hosted in Maryland.
Currently attending the American Preparatory Academy in Draper as an eighth grader, the teen is no stranger to competing on the national stage. In past bouts, he has tied for 370th place in 2019 and tied for 5th place in last year’s spelling bee.
Now, after eight rounds of fierce competition, Surya is carrying on to another day after successfully spelling out “zwitterion” — a formidable word, defined as a molecule that contains both positive and negative charges.
In the off-season, he stays active with many interests, including saxophone, chess, and basketball, and is also a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. According to his profile, “Surya has enjoyed participating in spelling bees from an early age and is excited to be participating this year.”
The local speller was part of some controversy during the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2022 when he misspelled “leucovorin,” which was appealed following a decision that Surya was denied relevant root information about the word. Despite this, he took his second chance in stride as an “unexpected” finalist in the annual competition.
Utah’s other talented speller in the spotlight this year, an eighth grader named Luke Jeppesen from Blanding, made a strong effort but was sadly removed in the first round, as he narrowly misspelled the hyphenated word “hei-tiki.”
With one day remaining for the Scripps National Spelling Bee, viewers in Utah will be cheering on Surya as he aims to take the top spot from the 231 talented contestants from across the nation.
The Finals will be at 8/7c on June 1, 2023, televised and streamed live via ION.