Shenali DeSilva spells a word while her brother, Shane DeSilva, waits for his turn Tuesday at the Southeast Regional Spelling Bee in Rochester, Minn. Shenali took second place behind her brother, and the siblings will compete at the state final in two weeks with a chance to advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. Photo provided
Shenali DeSilva spells a word while her brother, Shane DeSilva, waits for his turn Tuesday at the Southeast Regional Spelling Bee in Rochester, Minn. Shenali took second place behind her brother, and the siblings will compete at the state final in two weeks with a chance to advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. Photo provided

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Pacelli spelling bee champs advance

Published 10:07am Thursday, February 13, 2014

The prolific Pacelli spellers have advanced again.

Siblings Shane and Shenali DeSilva took first and second place, respectively, at the Southeast Minnesota Regional Spelling Bee semifinal on Tuesday. The brother and sister will go to Southeast Minnesota final in Rochester two weeks from now. While it will be Shenali’s first trip, Shane will make his fourth appearance.

Shane’s father, Sam DeSilva, said Shane narrowly missed winning last year’s state final and a chance to go to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

“Last year was kind of an unfortunate incident,” Sam said. “Under the pressure, he just sort of uttered the wrong letter to begin. Once you start, you cannot respell the word.”

Sam said Shane is quite confident he can advance to the national competition this year and has honed his focus.

“This time, he wants to make sure he doesn’t make those kind of mistakes,” Sam said.

Twelve contestants will vie for a bid to the national competition during the state final at Wood Lake Event Center in Rochester at 9 a.m. Feb. 25.


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