Scripps National Spelling Bee Crowns Champion After Epic Battle

Nick Paschal
Supervising Producer, Yahoo Entertainment

It’s a long road to get to the final night of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, and that was just the beginning for two young contestants who went toe-to-toe in an epic championship round. That final section alone lasted 40 minutes and went for 20 rounds before a winner was finally crowned.

Fourteen-year-old Rohan Rajeev is an 8th grader from Edmond, Okla., and it was his first time on the Scripps stage. Rohan was battling against 12-year-old Ananya Vinay, a 6th grader from Fresno, Calif.

It seemed like we were possibly heading toward another split title, even though the Scripps Spelling Bee officials added an extra tie-breaking round. That round had a possibility of ending in a tie as well, so it wasn’t really that great of a tie-breaker. But the contestants didn’t have to get to that, since Rohan ran into a word that spelled disaster for his championship hopes.

Rohan Rajeev reacts after misspelling a word during the finals of the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee. (Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

After spelling words like “durchkomponiert” and “emphyteusis,” Rohan fell short with “Marram.” He spelled it m-a-r-e-m, and heard the dreaded bell informing him he was wrong. So with Rohan making a mistake, it was up to Ananya to spell two more words to be crowned the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee champion. Ananya breezed through “gifblaar” and then nailed “marocain.” Ananya’s family then rushed onstage to celebrate as confetti fell around them.

Ananya Vinay holds her trophy after being declared the winner of the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee. (Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

Being from Fresno, Ananya is a huge Golden State Warriors fan, and she’s especially a fan of Steph Curry. So when reporter Michele Steele informed Ananya that Golden State won Game One of the NBA Finals, Ananya let out a loud “Go, Curry!”

Watch this 12-year-old get sassy at the Scripps National Spelling Bee:

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