National Spelling Bee ends in unprecedented 8-way tie

Posted at 8:02 AM, May 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-31 11:25:13-04

(AP/KSBY) – Eight spellers were better than the dictionary. They were better than anything the Scripps National Spelling Bee could throw at them. And they all ended up with a hand on the trophy.

In the most extraordinary ending in the 94-year history of the competition, the bee, following 20 rounds of head-to-head competition, ended in an eight-way tie on Thursday night. The eight co-champions spelled the final 47 words correctly, going through five consecutive perfect rounds.

Each will get the full winner’s prize of $50,000 in cash.

“This is a night to celebrate the remarkable academic achievement of a group of the world’s most talented spellers,” said Paige Kimble, executive director of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. “These spellers have conquered the dictionary unequivocally with their ability, skill and command of the English language. It’s an incredible achievement, and we salute all the years of hard work and dedicated study that brought these intelligent young people to the world stage. We congratulate them all.”

The winners, narrowed down from a field of 562 spellers when the competition began Monday, are:

  • Rishik Gandhasri, 13, from San Jose. Winning word: auslaut
  • Erin Howard, 14, from Huntsville, Alabama. Winning word: erysipelas
  • Saketh Sundar, 13, from Clarksville, Maryland. Winning word: bougainvillea
  • Shruthika Padhy, 13, from Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Winning word: aiguillette
  • Sohum Sukhatankar, 13, from Dallas, Texas. Winning word: pendeloque
  • Abhijay Kodali, 12, from Flower Mound, Texas. Winning word: palama
  • Christopher Serrao, 13, from Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. Winning word: cernuous
  • Rohan Raja, 13, from Dallas, Texas. Winning word: odylic

The E.W. Scripps Company which runs the bee is the owner of KSBY-TV.