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Local speller lands in 23rd place at national bee as 'Stockholm syndrome' trips him up

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Yash Shelar, a 14-year-old Academy of the Sacred Heart student, made it through five quarterfinal rounds of the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Wednesday before being knocked out of the competition.

He wasn't felled by spelling, but faltered during a vocabulary round, finishing tied for 23rd place with eight other participants.

The challenge was to provide the correct description for "Stockholm syndrome." Yash chose "a persistent doubt concerning one's accomplishments," rather than "a hostage bonding with their captor."

The multiple-choice vocabulary round knocked out a number of competitors, including two who tied for fourth place in last year's bee.

Yash had advanced to the national competition in March by winning the regional contest, which was sponsored by the Post-Dispatch.

He competed Tuesday and Wednesday in Maryland, as the national event returned to its traditional in-person venue after three years of pandemic disruptions and a virtual format. More than 230 spellers made it to the national bee, which began Tuesday with the preliminary round.

The national bee concludes on Thursday, when the finals take place from 7-9 p.m. The finals will be broadcast on the ION network, which is carried by many cable and streaming providers, but the channel will vary.

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