The 92nd Scripps National Spelling Bee ended in a historic eight-way tie on Thursday night in Washington, D.C.
Eight spellers remained going into the 18th round when the organization announced that any of the remaining spellers at the end of the 20th round would be crowned co-champions. It was the first time in Bee history that as many as eight were crowned at once. Co-champions were declared in 1950, 1957, 1962, 2014 and 2015.
“Dr. Bailly just announced we’re in uncharted territory,” Scripps said after the 17th round. “We won’t run out of words but may run out of words to challenge our most storied spellers in Bee history.”
This year, 562 spellers age 15 years or younger competed for the title; 50 made the finals and 16 advanced to Thursday night’s round. Eight aced 20 words to become co-champions after five straight perfect rounds and 47 consecutive words were spelled correctly to close out the competition.
Rishik Gandhasri spelled the word ‘auslaut’ correctly to claim the first slot in the co-champion standing. Erin Howard nailed the word ‘erysipelas,’ Saketh Sundar spelled ‘bougainvillea’ and Shruthika Padhy spelled the word ‘aiguillette’ correctly. Sohum Sukhatankar became the fifth champ of the night when he aced ‘pendeloque,’ then sixth grader Abhijay Kodali spelled the word ‘palama’ correctly to take the sixth straight championship slot. Christopher Serrao spelled the ‘cernuous’ and Rohan Raja cleared ‘odylic’ to become the eighth and final co-champion.
Each champion will take home a $50,000 cash prize and an engraved trophy, plus some reference works and dictionaries. The Yankees have extended invitations to all eight co-champions to attend their game against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium Sunday night.