The Scripps National Spelling Bee had never seen anything like this before: the last eight contestants continued to spell word after word correctly in an exhausting and intense three-hour final round! Contestants spelled words such as palatschinken (a pancake stuffed with jam) and yertchuk (an Australian eucalyptus tree) with no hesitation. When the judges ran out of words, it seemed like there was nothing left to do but to award all eight contestants with the first place prize. If you’re wondering how a spelling bee can run out of words, you’re not alone! It turns out that in the final round of the tournament, there is a pre-determined set of difficult words. Judges go through these words one by one and contestants, at some point, begin to exit the tournament when they spell a word incorrectly. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case this year because Shruthika Padhy, Erin Howard, Rishik Gandhasri, Christopher Serrao, Saketh Sundar, Sohum Sukhatankar, Rohan Raja, Abhijay Kodali were able to spell every difficult word correctly. As a result, the judges decided that there would be three final rounds and whoever was left standing would be declared the winner. Well, even after the final three rounds, the eight contestants were all still left standing. There was nothing left to do, but to declare an eight-way tie. Congratulations to the Octochamps!
Interesting Fact: Although this is the first time that eight contestants tied for first place at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, this isn’t the first time that more than one person had to share the title of champion. In its ninety-two year history, the Scripps National Spelling Bee has had five two-way ties for first place!