It was a heated battle at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, but Ansun Sunjoe and Sriram Hathwar beat out stiff competition to become co-champions.
A dozen spellers battled it out in Thursday night’s finals to become the champion of the Scripps National Spelling Bee competition as young teens took turns spelling overly complex words. Ansun Sunjoe and Sriram Hathwar battled it out in an intense final round but ultimately both were named champions.
“The competition was ultimately against the dictionary,” Sriram said.
Sriram of Painted Post New York was last year’s third-place finisher and is the only repeat finalist per ABC News. He had the highest score in this year’s preliminary and semifinal rounds and was clearly a force to be reckoned with.
Sriram and Ansun will split $33,000 in cash and prizes, along with bragging rights and the esteemed title of Spelling Bee champions.
Sririam had said he hopes his experience – and additional year to study and shore up his weaknesses – would pay off in the end. He said he’s studied the dictionary so much that he has a “GPS system” in his brain and can recall the page where a word appears. It appears his training certainly did pay off.
“On the page, I have a general sense of where the word will be when they ask it. It’s like flipping through the dictionary in my mind,” Sriram said.
Many spellers have a practice in place before they spell the word out aloud. Even if they are certain of it, many will ask questions first to make sure such as definition, part of speech, alternate pronunciations, and language of origin.
Congratulations to co-champions Ansun and Sriram!
The 12 finalists in the National Spelling Bee included:
— Sriram Hathwar, 14, Painted Post, New York.
— Jacob Williamson, 15, 8th grade.
— Alia Abiad, 14, of Western Springs, Illinois.
— Tajaun Gibbison, 13, of Mandeville, Jamaica. The only international winner in the bee’s history also hailed from Jamaica.
— Mary Horton, 13, of West Melbourne, Florida. Her two older siblings have competed in the bee, with her brother reaching the finals in 2006.
— Neha Konakalla, 14, of Cupertino, California.
— Tejas Muthusamy of Glen Allen, Virginia, an 11-year-old fifth-grader and the youngest semifinalist.
— Samuel Pereles, 13, of Waynesboro, Virginia.
— Ansun Sunjoe, 13, of Fort Worth, Texas, co-winner.
— Ashwin Veeramani, 14, of North Royalton, Ohio, whose sister Anamika won the bee in 2010.
— Gokul Venkatachalam, 13, of Chesterfield, Missouri, a three-time semifinalist.
—Vanya Shivashankar, 12, of Olathe, Kansas, a three-time finalist.
—Kate Miller, Abilene, Texas.
Ansun Sunjoe and Sriram Hathwar Named National Spelling Bee Champions