92nd Scripps National Spelling Bee declares 8 co-champions

NATIONAL HARBOR, MARYLAND - MAY 30: Rohan Raja of Irving, Texas, celebrates after he correctly spelled the word "ferraiolone" during round eight of the Scripps National Spelling Bee at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center May 30, 2019 in National Harbor, Maryland. Students from across the country and around the world compete in the spelling competition, which started in 1925. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
The Scripps National Spelling Bee ended with eight winners on Thursday night. (Getty Images)

Co-champions. Can you use that in a sentence?

After 20 rounds and more than three hours, the 92nd Scripps National Spelling Bee opted for co-champions instead of one true winner.

Rishik Gandhasri won the 2019 iteration of the spelling bee with a correct spelling of “auslat.” Then Erin Howard also won. And so did, Saketh Sundar. And Shruthika Padhy. Down the line it went, with Sohum Sukhatankar, Abhijay Kodali, Christopher Serrao and Rohan Raja all correctly spelled their final word and walked away from the microphone to a standing applause.

Each of the winners will still be given a Scripps Cup and the $50,000 cash prize.

While many took to Twitter at the start of the NBA Finals on Thursday complaining about ESPN’s scheduling conflict with the Spelling Bee and the Finals, it turns out they didn’t miss much.

The Finals, which started 30 minutes after the Spelling Bee, ended before the Bee. And those who tuned in following Toronto’s 118-109 Game 1 win weren’t even rewarded for their efforts.

Just after midnight on the east coast, the eight spellers were named co-champions in what announcers described as the spelling bee that could “change everything.”

At 11:19 p.m. EDT, speller number five, Rishik Gandhasri, asked what the time was. After nearly three hours, the spellers looked tired. But once Dr. Jacques Bailly announced after the 17th round that any speller left after the 20th round would be declared a winner, no one misspelled another word.

Even with eight winners, perhaps the biggest winner of the night was the Bee’s official announcer, Dr. Bailly and his overly fitting tie.

Announcers hinted that this year may change the spelling bee in future years. And it probably should. For now, let’s just hope it doesn't change Dr. Bailly’s tie game.

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