Breaking News Bar
updated: 5/29/2014 10:42 PM

Two spectacular spellers co-champs at Scripps bee

Western Springs teen ties for fifth

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • Ansun Sujoe, 13, of Fort Worth, Texas, left, and Sriram Hathwar, 14, of Painted Post, N.Y., shake hands after being named co-champions of the National Spelling Bee on Thursday.

      Ansun Sujoe, 13, of Fort Worth, Texas, left, and Sriram Hathwar, 14, of Painted Post, N.Y., shake hands after being named co-champions of the National Spelling Bee on Thursday.

  • From left, Mary Horton, 13, of West Melbourne, Florida, Tajaun Gibbison, 13, of Mandeville, Jamaica, and Alia Abiad, 14, of Western Springs celebrate Thursday after receiving their medals from Paige Kimble, right, executive director of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, and making it to the finals.

      From left, Mary Horton, 13, of West Melbourne, Florida, Tajaun Gibbison, 13, of Mandeville, Jamaica, and Alia Abiad, 14, of Western Springs celebrate Thursday after receiving their medals from Paige Kimble, right, executive director of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, and making it to the finals.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

OXON HILL, Md. -- For the first time in 52 years, two spellers were declared co-champions of the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday.

Sriram Hathwar of Painted Post, New York, and Ansun Sujoe of Fort Worth, Texas, shared the title after a riveting final-round duel in which they nearly exhausted the 25 designated championship words. After they spelled a dozen words correctly in a row, they both were named champions.

Earlier, 14-year-old Sriram opened the door to an upset by 13-year-old Ansun after he misspelled "corpsbruder," a close comrade. But Ansun was unable to take the title because he got "antegropelos," which means waterproof leggings, wrong.

Sriram entered the final round as the favorite after finishing in third place last year. Ansun just missed the semifinals last year.

They become the fourth co-champions in the bee's 89-year history and the first since 1962.

"The competition was against the dictionary, not against each other," Sriram said after both were showered with confetti onstage. "I'm happy to share this trophy with him."

Sriram backed up his status as the favorite by rarely looking flustered onstage, nodding confidently as he outlasted 10 other spellers to set up the one-on-one duel with Ansun. The younger boy was more nervous and demonstrative, no more so than on the word that gave him a share of the title: "feulletion," the features section of a European newspaper or magazine.

"Ah, whatever!" Ansun said before beginning to spell the word as the stage lights turned red, signaling that he had 30 seconds left.

Although they hoisted a single trophy together onstage, each will get one to take home, and each gets the champion's haul of more than $33,000 in cash and prizes.

Gokul Venkatachalam of Chesterfield, Missouri, finished third, and Ashwin Veeramani of North Royalton, Ohio, was fourth.

Fourteen-year-old Alia Abiad of Western Springs did the best of the Illinois spellers, finishing in a tie for fifth, after missing "irbis. It was Alia's second trip to the national bee, after finishing in a tie for 19th place in 2013.

Forty-six spellers including five from Illinois advanced to the semifinals using scores from onstage words and a computerized spelling-vocabulary test. Crystal Lake's Lucas Urbanski advanced to the semifinals, but did not advance to the championship round.

Grayslake's Adam Kastler and St. Charles' Anika Patel were eliminated previously.

Share

Interested in reusing this article?

Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.

The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.

Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Name * Company Telephone * E-mail *

Message (optional)

Success - Reprint request sent Click to close
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here