Difficulty soars in Round 3 of the National Spelling Bee

Round 3 of the Scripps National Spelling Bee is on, with three Kansas City area spellers still in the hunt.

Olathe’s Vanya Shivashankar correctly spelled “ balletomane” after getting “ pistachio” in Round 2.

Sophia Hoffman, the Jackson-Clay county champ, made it through “ magnanimous” in Round 2 and “navicella” in Round 3.

But Cass County’s Joel Miles, who spelled “ henna” in Round 2, tripped on “seriema.”

Allyson Scribner of Platte County drew “ macron” in Round 2. She will be one of the last spellers in the second half of Round 3.

The bee had 285 spellers lined up for the competition, but two dropped out before Wednesday’s rounds began.

Four spellers misfired in Round 2 on “ malihini,” “ Panglossian,” “ kitsch” and “ alleviate.”

The difficulty quotient went up in Round 3, with the likes of “ guayabi,” “ syncytium,” “ phthalein,” “ geelhout,” “ scagliola” and “ bergschrund” claiming 30 spellers in just the first half.

For those wondering, a balletomane is a ballet enthusiast; a navicella is an ornamental object shaped like a ship; and a seriema is a South American bird.