The National Spelling Bee went late into Thursday night and ended with eight winners.
Erin Howard, Rishik Gandharsi, Saketh Sundar, Shruthika Padhy, Sohum Sukhantankar, Abhijay Kodali, Christopher Serrao and Rohan Raja all walked away winners in the competition and $50,000 richer because judges ran out of difficult words for the kids to spell.
“We are closely connected to the difficulty level at the program, so we are quite aware of the rising level of competition. This does not actually surprise us at all,” said the Spelling Bee’s executive director Paige Kimble. “We didn’t go into the competition tonight not knowing that this was a possibility and not having a plan.”
When they tried to eliminate competitors in three final rounds, all the kids spelled the words correctly, so judges decided to end the Bee with eight winners for the first time ever.
By the end of the night, the teens were exhausted and some were even horse. Many expressed they were glad it ended when it did.
“Look at these kids. They worked so hard and they achieved so much,” Kimble said. “I think it’s the best night ever for the bee.”