BRIDGEWATER, NJ - On Jan. 4, Bridgewater-Raritan Middle School’s top spellers crowded excitedly into hive (“cafeteria bee”), ready to portray their understanding of etymology.  After the first round, all the spellers remained.  By the end of round seven, eight logophiles still remained in the hive.  

After 12 nail-biting rounds, three spellers had not yet felt the sting of elimination: Rohith Gudati, Matthew Quispe and Aarsha Shah.  

From round 13 through round 16, Shah and Quispe faced off, matching each other word for word. In round 17, Shah misspelled her word, but the Scripps Spelling Bee rules state that the champion has to win by two words.  

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Quispe misspelled his championship word, so, in an unusual twist, Shah was back in the competition.

Finally, in round 21, Quispe misspelled his word. Shah spelled the championship word correctly and savored the sweet flavor of victory as she was named “Queen of the Hive” (Bridgewater-Raritan Middle School’s top speller).  

Both Quispe and Shah will represent BRMS at the county level at Somerset County Vo-Tech March 11.  The winner of the county level will represent NJ at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.  

Good luck to both our of our winners.