This has been an exciting year for the 89-year-old Scripps National Spelling Bee. First there were the Missouri kids that exhausted the spelling list and had to have a rematch and now, two finalists who pulled off the same impossible feat in National Harbor, Maryland. This time around there was no second round. Instead, both were declared winners.
On May 29th, Sriram Hathwar, an eighth-grader from Painted Post, New York, and Ansun Sujoe, a seventh-grader from Fort Worth, Texas, were crowned co-champions after they spelt the last two words from the list - stichomythia and feuilleton accurately. The victory was particularly gratifying for Sriram given that this was the 14-year-old's fifth attempt at the Bee. The young boy who finished third last year and sixth in 2011, also had a close call at this year's final. During the final round, he stumbled on the word corpsbruder (a close comrade), opening the door for Ansun to win the coveted title.
Fortunately, Ansun, a 2013 semifinalist, was also unable to spell his word - antegropelos (waterproof leggings). Given that they were the only two left and had misspelt words in the same round, the contestants were allowed to continue and make history by becoming the first Scripps National Spelling Bee co-champions since 1962 and only the fourth, since it began in 1925.
In addition to that, the co-champions who each took home $30,000 in cash, also helped continue the eight-year winning streak of contestants of Indian descent. Can someone spell 'SWEET'?
Resources: spellingbee.com, npr.org