News

They beat English: Co-winners declared at National Spelling Bee

They beat English: Co-winners declared at National Spelling Bee

SUPER SPELLERS:Sriram Hathwar of Painted Post, New York, gets a hug from his mother Roopa (R) as he and Ansun Sujoe (L) of Fort Worth, Texas are joint winners of the 87th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee at National Harbor, Maryland May 29. Photo: Reuters

By Ian Simpson

OXON HILL Md. (Reuters) – A tense championship faceoff at the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee ended in a tie on Thursday, with co-winners declared for the first time in 52 years.

Sriram Hathwar, an eighth grader from Painted Post, New York, and Ansun Sujoe, a seventh grader from Fort Worth, Texas, battled head-to-head through six rounds before judges ruled the contest a tie.

“It was a surprise to me, I guess,” Hathwar said of the tie after he and Sujoe raised the championship trophy before a cheering crowd in a hotel ballroom.

Hathwar and Sujoe were the last ones standing after third-place finisher Gokul Venkatachalam, a seventh grader from St. Louis, went out on “Kierkegaardian”.

The spelling contest seemed over when Hathwar misspelled “corpsbruder”, but Sujoe slipped on the next word, “antigropelos”, and the faceoff was on.

The see-saw match before a primetime ESPN audience ended after Hathwar nailed “stichomythia”. Pronouncer Jacques Bailly told Sujoe that if he spelled the next word correctly he and Hathwar would be co-winners.

Sujoe went to the microphone, Hathwar behind him. Bailly gave him “feuilleton”, and the bow-tied Sujoe rolled his eyes to the ceiling. He slowly spelled it correctly, ending the 22nd round overall in the two-day Bee and the crowd erupted.

The two each will receive a $30,000 cash prize. The tie was the first since 1962 and only the fourth in the 87-year history of the Bee.

Under contest rules, when two or three finalists remain, they face a 25-word championship word list. When the list runs out, co-champions are declared.

Hathwar and Sujoe are the seventh and eighth Indian Americans in a row to win the Bee, a centerpiece of Americana for decades.

They emerged winners in a contest limited to those in eighth grade and younger. This year the Bee started with more than 11 million students across the United States and in at least seven foreign countries.

One of the 12 finalists said she was relieved that the Bee and the long months of preparation were finally over.

“I’m going to go home and watch every horror movie on which I can get my hands,” said Kate Miller, a 14-year-old eighth grader from Abilene, Texas, who went out on “exchorion”, part of an insect egg.

(Editing by Michael Perry)

Recent Headlines

in Music

Taylor Swift named among world’s greatest leaders in new Fortune poll

Singer Taylor Swift attends the SNL 40th Anniversary Special at Rockefeller Plaza on Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015, in New York.

Taylor Swift ranks two spots behind Pope Francis in a new Fortune.com poll of the World's Greatest Leaders.

in Entertainment

‘Downton Abbey’ to end after season six

This photo released by PBS and Carnival Film and Television Limited shows, from left, Lesley Nicol as Mrs. Patmore, and Sophie McShera as Daisy, in a scene from season four of the Masterpiece TV series, "Downton Abbey." As it returns for its much-awaited fourth season, it remains a series about elegance, tradition and gentility, and the pressures of preserving them. The show premieres Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 9 pm ET on PBS.

Producers confirm that the next season of "Downton Abbey" will be the last.

in Sports

Aaron Hernandez trail delayed by bomb threat

Former New England Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez listens during a motion regarding jail phone recordings during his murder trial at the Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Mass., on Wednesday, March 25, 2015. Hernandez is accused in the June 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd.

A bomb threat has delayed proceedings of the Aaron Hernandez murder trial.