It was a nail-biter back and forth the whole way. Sriram and Ansun Sujoe both missed words in the same round at one point, so the competition continued. In the Championship Round, started when there are three spellers or less, there are only 25 words, and both boys kept getting words right, so they started running out.
Sriram had one last word, and spelled “stichomythia”, a dialogue, especially of altercation, correctly. It was then up to Ansun, who, despite not being able to pronounce “feuilleton”, which is part of a European newspaper, and using nearly all of his time, got it right.
Both boys were crowned co-champions. It’s the first time that’s happened at the Bee since 1962.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Sriram on stage. “I mean, every night, I used to think about winning the trophy. And now it’s come true.”
Sriram is the first Spelling Bee champion from upstate New York since Tim Kneale did it in 1976. Ansun is from Fort Worth, Texas, and is the first winner from there since 1973. Both boys will get the $30,000 prize for winning the Bee, along with their own trophy.
We spoke with Sriram before he left for Washington, D.C. You can see that conversation here.
One cool thing that the National Spelling Bee is doing this year is encouraging viewers to take “spellfies”, or selfies while watching the Bee. You can post yours on our Facebook page.
Sriram spelled “thymelici”, a chorus that dances around altar of Dionysus, “sdrucciola”, being triple rhyme, “feijoada”, “skandhas”, the five personal elements of the self in Buddhism, “characin”, a fish often kept in tropical aquariums, “nocifensor”, relating to system of nerve fibers, “lamentabile”, sadly - used as a direction in music, “semmel”, bread roll with a crisp crust, “bagwyn”, a mythical beast like an antelope, “criollismo”, preoccupation with native scenes, “hexerei”, witchcraft, “encastage”, placing of pottery in a kiln for firing, “détraqué' (deranged or psychopathic, correctly in the finals. He missed "corpsbruder".