First split-winner event sees three DFW spellers join five others as historic “octochamps”
Three ace spellers from the DFW area have become national champs. In an unprecedented display of academic achievement, eight spellers in total were dubbed co-champions of the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee, making history as the first group to share the coveted title in the 92 years of the storied event.
Joining five other co-champions from Alabama, California, New Jersey, and Maryland, are three locals:
Abhijay Kodali, 12, from Flower Mound, Texas. He is a sixth-grader from McKamy Middle School. Kodali competed in 2018 (tied for 3rd place). His winning word: palama.
Rohan Raja, 13, from Dallas, Texas. He is a seventh-grader at Coppell Middle School West. Raja competed in 2018 (tied for 10th place). His winning word: odylic.
Sohum Sukhatankar, 13, from Dallas, Texas. He is a seventh-grader at St. Mark’s School of Texas. Sukhatankar competed in 2017 (tied for 23rd place) and 2018 (tied for 25th place). His winning word: pendeloque.
The eight spellers competed during a suspenseful 20 rounds of head-to-head competition.
“This is a night to celebrate the remarkable academic achievement of a group of the world’s most
talented spellers,” said Paige Kimble, executive director of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. “These spellers have conquered the dictionary unequivocally with their ability, skill, and command of the English language. It’s an incredible achievement, and we salute all the years of hard work and dedicated study that brought these intelligent young people to the world stage. We congratulate them all.”
Adam Symson, president and CEO of The E.W. Scripps Company, awarded all the winners a championship trophy moments before ESPN signed off from its national broadcast of the 92nd Scripps National Spelling Bee. The eight champions each will receive a cash prize of $50,000 as well as their own Scripps Cup. In addition to the cash and trophy, each champion receives a $2,500 cash prize and a complete reference library from Merriam-Webster, and reference works and a three-year online membership from Encyclopædia Britannica.
Each year, the Scripps National Spelling Bee reaches more than 11 million students participating in spelling bees held in classrooms, schools and locally sponsored events around the country and in other parts of the world.
• To learn more, check out SpellingBee.com.
COURTESY: FValerie Miller/Scripps.com, PHOTOS: Mark Bowen/Scripps National Spelling Bee