Marathon Spelling Bee Ends With Historic 8 Co-Champions

May 31, 2019
Originally published on May 31, 2019 9:19 am
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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Oh, my goodness. History was made last night at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Indeed, it was. Round after round, these incredible contestants kept getting it right until this announcement came.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JACQUES BAILLY: When we get to the end of Round 20, we will take an extraordinary step of declaring as co-champions those of you still remaining in the competition.

MARTIN: That's Jacques Bailly. His longtime job title is bee pronouncer.

INSKEEP: He pronounces the words, I guess, that the kids have to spell. So eight contestants had eight words, and let's run through this. For 13-year-old Rishik Gandhasri, it was this.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

RISHIK GANDHASRI: Auslaut. A-U-S-L-A-U-T. Auslaut.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: You are correct.

MARTIN: Fourteen-year-old Erin Howard.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ERIN HOWARD: Erysipelas. E-R-Y-S-I-P-E-L-A-S. Erysipelas.

INSKEEP: Thirteen-year-old Saketh Sundar.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SAKETH SUNDAR: Bougainvillea. B-O-U-G-A-I-N-V-I-L-L-E-A. Bougainvillea.

MARTIN: Thirteen-year-old Shruthika Padhy.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SHRUTHIKA PADHY: Aiguillette. A-I-G-U-I-L-L-E-T-T-E. Aiguillette.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: You are correct.

INSKEEP: Thirteen-year-old Sohum Sukhatankar.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SOHUM SUKHATANKAR: Pendeloque. P-E-N-D-E-L-O-Q-U-E. Pendeloque.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: You are correct.

MARTIN: And 12-year-old Abhijay Kodali.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ABHIJAY KODALI: Palama. P-A-L-A-M-A.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Correct.

INSKEEP: We're not done. There's also 13-year-old Christopher Serrao.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CHRISTOPHER SERRAO: Cernuous. C-E-R-N-U-O-U-S. Cernuous.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: You are correct.

MARTIN: And 13-year-old Rohan Raja.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ROHAN RAJA: Odylic. O-D-Y-L-I-C. Odylic.

INSKEEP: And with that, for the first time ever, the Scripps National Spelling Bee has eight co-champions.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPELLLING'S "UNDER THE SUN") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.