Categories: Incredible
Tags: competition, interesting, kids, National Spelling Bee, school, scripps national spelling be, spelling, words

“We are now in uncharted territory.” The Bee’s official pronouncer, Jacques Bailly, was as stunned as the audience when, round after round, the same eight tweens blew through the words of the Merriam-Webster Unabridged.

Outside of a few pairs here and there, never in its 92-year history had a group so large claimed victory at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The kids spelled their way through a dramatic 20 rounds before Bailly named them all 2019 winners.

The 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee co-champions are:

Erin Howard, 14, Huntsville, Alabama. Winning word: erysipelas.

Rishik Gandhasri (Ri-shik Gun-duh-sree), 13, San Jose, California. Winning word: auslaut.

Abhijay Kodali (Uh-bee-jay Kuh-DAH-lee), 12, Flower Mound, Texas. Winning word: palama.

Shruthika Padhy (shroo-THEE-kuh PA-dee), 13, Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Winning word: aiguillette.

Rohan Raja, 13, from Dallas, Texas. Winning word: odylic.

Saketh Sundar (SAH-keth sun-DAHR), 13, Clarksville, Maryland. Winning word: bougainvillea.

Sohum Sukhatankar (SO-hum SOO-kuh-tuhng-kuhr), 13, Dallas, Texas. Winning word: pendeloque.

Christopher Serrao (Suh-RAU), 13, Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. Winning word: cernuous.

Think you’re smarter than a 13-year old spelling bee champ?

Better get your 2020 Merriam-Webster Unabridged pre-ordered. You will have until the end of May to get it memorized.

Cause even if you’ve aged out of the Bee, on the Scripps National Spelling Bee website, fans can play along in real time. People who logged in saw four different spellings of a word, its definition, origin and part of speech. The test is timed and scores are kept just like the players on stage.

Other activities on the website include a chance to take the preliminary spelling test, signing up for the official bee bookclub and reading news about current and past champions.

Results are also posted there during the Bee, so you can watch the suspense unfold both online and live on

This year, 562 competitors participated, including nine sets of siblings. Many had been through the bee before with two spellers marking their fifth turn in the contest.

Like many competitions from this year, the bee had its controversies. One boy was cut off before he completed his word. Officials reviewed the round and determined human error on their part. He was re-instated, only to get eliminated later.

So, how do these middle-schoolers do it? Was it obsessive study of words or is it how the Bee is played?

Well…I don’t know.

Merriam- Webster, the official spelling reference for the National Bee tweeted their concession, saying, “The Dictionary concedes and adds that it is SO. PROUD.”

Maybe the octo-champs are really super smart kids. But, next year’s bee is going to have to find harder words, because erysipelas, auslaut and pendeloque don’t seem to be cutting it. Great job, champion spellers!