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 Sports

AP sources: Rice’s appeal hearing set for Nov. 5-6

Photo: Associated Press

Two people familiar with the situation say a hearing on Ray Rice's appeal of his indefinite suspension will be held Nov. 5 and 6.

in Sports

Cowboys release Michael Sam from practice squad

Dallas Cowboys Michael Sam walks on the field before the first half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014, in Arlington, Texas.

The Dallas Cowboys have released Michael Sam from the practice squad, another setback as the NFL's first openly gay player .

in Sports

Durant struggling to deal with injury

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant answers questions at a news conference in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014. Durant said he’s been antsy since finding out he will miss the early part of the season with a Jones fracture in his right foot. The reigning NBA MVP spoke to the media Tuesday morning for the first time since the injury.

Thunder forward Kevin Durant says he has been antsy since finding out he will miss the early part of the season with a broken bone in his right foot.

in Viral Videos

WATCH: ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Halloween house

15-overlay4

The decorations and synchronized light display on this house is so impressive, we won't even ask for candy.

in Music

Alice Cooper wants to ‘die on stage’

alice

The rocker says he's not worried about elaborate stunts on stage because that's the way he would want to go out.

Bellingham Traffic