Phenomenal: 8 Winners at Spelling Bee

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May 30, 2019

In the end, there were eight.

The Scripps National Spelling Bee ended in an eight-way tie. It was only the third time in the event's history that more than one contestant had won. The 2014, 2015, and 2016 competitions had co-champions.

After 20 rounds, anyone left onstage (meaning haven't misspelled a word) is a winner. In this case, that number was eight. A recent rule change allowed for no more than three winners. The 2017 and 2018 competition rules included a written tiebreaker test focusing on both spelling and vocabulary, in order to end up with just one winner. The tiebreaker was not needed, and event officials canceled the tiebreaker for this year.

Of the 562 spellers who began the competition at the start of the week, 50 made it through to the finals and then a few rounds narrowed the field to 16. A full one-half of those final finalists were declared winners after spelling correctly every word with which they were challenged.

The winners were these (along with their age, grade in school, home state, and their last correct word spelled):

  • Spelling Bee 2019 winners Rishik Gandhasri, 13, 7th grade, from California: auslaut
  • Erin Howard, 14, 8th grade, from Alabama: erysipelas
  • Abhijay Kodali, 12, 6th grade, from Texas: palama
  • Shruthika Padhy, 13, 8th grade, from New Jersey: aiguillette
  • Rohan Raja, 13, 7th grade, from Texas
  • Christopher Serrao, 13, 7th grade, from Pennsylvania
  • Sohum Sukhatankar, 13, 7th grade, from Texas: pendeloque
  • Saketh Sundar, 13, 8th grade, from Maryland: bougainvillea
They called themselves "octochamps."

Scripps, the title sponsor for the event, after initially saying that it would split the prize among any co-winners, said that it would award each winner the full $50,000 cash prize it had announced for the winner.

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