AMAZING EIGHT. The co-champions of the 2019 Scripps National
Spelling Bee — from left, Sohum Sukhatankar, 13, of Dallas,
Texas; Abhijay Kodali, 12, of Flower Mound, Texas; Rohan Raja,
13, of Irving, Texas; Saketh Sundar, 13, of Clarksville,
Maryland; Christopher Serrao, 13, of Whitehouse Station, N.J.;
Rishik Gandhasri, 13, of San Jose, California; Erin Howard, 14,
of Huntsville, Alabama; and Shruthika Padhy, 13, of Cherry Hill,
N.J. — celebrate in Oxon Hill, Maryland, on Friday, May 31,
2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
From The Asian Reporter, V29, #11 (June 3, 2019), pages 9 &
Eight are great: National Spelling Bee ends
By Ben Nuckols
The Associated Press
OXON HILL, Md. — The Scripps National Spelling Bee was broken
in late May, brought to its knees by eight spellers who were too
poised, too prepared, and too savvy for any word thrown their
Faced with a dwindling word list and a group of spellers that
showed no weakness, Scripps gave up and declared them
co-champions, the most extraordinary ending in the 94-year
history of the competition.
The eight co-champions spelled the final 47 words correctly
in their historic walk-off victory, going through five
consecutive perfect rounds.
"Champion spellers, we are now in uncharted territory," bee
pronouncer Jacques Bailly told them in announcing the decision
to allow up to eight winners. "We do have plenty of words
remaining on our list. But we will soon run out of words that
will possibly challenge you, the most phenomenal collection of
super spellers in the history of this competition."
He wasn’t lying. The bee held three more rounds after that,
and no one missed a word or even appeared to struggle.
The winners, who dubbed themselves "octo-champs," were:
Rishik Gandhasri, Erin Howard, Saketh Sundar, Shruthika Padhy,
Sohum Sukhatankar, Abhijay Kodali, Christopher Serrao, and Rohan
From 2014 to 2016, the bee ended with co-champions. In 2017
and last year, the bee had a written tiebreaker test of spelling
and vocabulary that would be used to identify a single champion
if necessary. It didn’t turn out to be needed, and bee officials
decided the test was too burdensome and got rid of it.