Scripps spelling bee ends in 8-way tie
OXON HILL, Maryland (AP) — 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 92-year history of the competition, the bee 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.
They are Rishik Gandhasri, Erin Howard, Saketh Sundar, Shruthika Padhy, Sohum Sukhatankar, Abhijay Kodali, Christopher Serrao and Rohan Raja.
This year’s bee had the biggest field ever, with 562 spellers, more than half of whom got in through Scripps’ wild-card program.
Last year was the first time that wild cards were allowed into the bee, and the eventual champion was a wild card.
Thursday’s finalists include nine spellers who finished in at least a tie for 10th last year.
The field will be narrowed to about a dozen spellers in the morning and early afternoon before the prime-time finals on ESPN.
The last 14 champions and 19 of the past 23 have been Indian-American.