Tuesday’s quarterfinals started with 75 spellers still in the hunt. In Round 4, Sophia correctly spelled hygrometer (an instrument for measuring the humidity of the atmosphere), as the field was pared to 58.
In Round 5, a multiple-choice “word-meaning” round, she knew that a person on a “junket” is taking a trip, rather than selling merchandise or improvising a solo on an instrument. Another 16 contestants answered their words incorrectly, leaving 42 spellers.
In Round 6, Sophia was faced with “compotator,” which means “one who drinks with another.” The word is rare enough that many spell-check systems will try to change it. But Sophia — ghost-writing the word on her hand like many other spellers — smoothly got it right.
The 30 semifinalists include 13 boys and 17 girls, representing 18 states and the Bahamas. Three of the 14 Ohio contestants advanced to the semifinals. In addition to Lopez, they are Isabella Fletcher, 12, of Steubenville Harding Middle School, and Rajshekhar Basu Sarkar, 12, of Van Buren Middle School near Findlay.
Sophia said it will be good to have an 11-day break before the semifinals, giving her more time to review “semifinals-caliber words” and time to relax if she needs it.
“I do feel like I have some really good competitors (remaining) who I know and I’ve seen in other spelling bees,” she said. “I am a little nervous but I’m going to try my best to make it to the finals, which I’m really excited about.”