Eight Is Enough: Spelling Bee Crowns Not One But Eight Co-Champions

The NBA Finals wasn’t the only big event on TV last night.

Sports fans, and NBA fans in particular, were glued to their screens last night, watching as the Raptors shocked and defeated the Golden State Warriors 118 – 109, in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

But after the game was over, another big event was still going on, with much younger competitors as well.

Just after midnight on the east coast, as the last letter in “Odylic” was pronounced by competitor no. 462, Rohan Raja, 13, of Irving, Texas, the event ended in historical fashion as eight contestants were declared co-champions.

It was an exciting, draining and amazing event for all those who stayed up to watch it, and for everyone that stayed through the 20 round competition, it’s 92 annual event overall.

The competition was heated, and after the 17th round, the eight remaining kids were fatigued but eager for a victory. That’s when Jacques Bailly, the event’s pronouncer,  declared that any of them who made it through three more words would be declared champion, or champions, as we would soon learn.

“We do have plenty of words remaining in our list, but we’ll soon run out of words that will challenge you,” said Mr. Bailly at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md.

“We’re throwing the dictionary at you. And so far, you are showing this dictionary who is boss.”

It was definitely a boss move for all eight contestants, and they stayed awake, remained sharp, and each walked out $50,000 richer, another first for the long running event.

Here are the eight champions and their championship winning words:

Rishik Gandhasri, 13, of San Jose, Calif.: “auslaut”

Erin Howard, 14, of Huntsville, Ala.: “erysipelas”

Saketh Sundar, 13, of Clarksville, Md.: “bougainvillea”

Shruthika Padhy, 13, of Cherry Hill, N.J.: “aiguillette”

Sohum Sukhatankar, 13, of Dallas: “pendeloque”

Abhijay Kodali, 12, of Flower Mound, Tex.: “palama”

Christopher Serrao, 13, of Whitehouse Station, N.J.: “cernuous”

Rohan Raja, 13, of Irving, Tex: “odylic”