National Spelling Bee, at a Loss for Words, Crowns 8 Co-Champions


A superhuman group of adolescents broke the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday, with eight contestants crowned co-champions after the competition said it was running out of challenging words.

It was a stunning result, coming just after midnight Thursday, for the 92nd annual event, which has had six two-way ties but had never before experienced such a logjam at the top. After the 17th round, Jacques Bailly, the event’s pronouncer, announced that any of the eight remaining contestants who made it through three more words would share in the prize.

[We made a Spelling Bee quiz for you. Try your luck.]

“We do have plenty of words remaining in our list, but we’ll soon run out of words that will challenge you,” Mr. Bailly told the contestants at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md.

He added: “We’re throwing the dictionary at you. And so far, you are showing this dictionary who is boss.”

None of the contestants faltered. They each got their own moment of triumph as they correctly spelled their words in the 20th round, then patiently sat back in their seats as the next contestant had their moment. They supported one another with high-fives and hugs, and each placed a hand on a single trophy.

The champions were, along with the final words they spelled:

Rishik Gandhasri, 13, of San Jose, Calif.: auslaut.

Erin Howard, 14, of Huntsville, Ala.: erysipelas.

Saketh Sundar, 13, of Clarksville, Md.: bougainvillea.

Shruthika Padhy, 13, of Cherry Hill, N.J.: aiguillette.

Sohum Sukhatankar, 13, of Dallas: pendeloque.

Abhijay Kodali, 12, of Flower Mound, Tex.: palama.

Christopher Serrao, 13, of Whitehouse Station, N.J.: cernuous.



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