Snigdha Nandipati, 14, a San Diego eighth-grader has won the Scripps National Spelling Bee with the French-derived mind-bender “guetapens” in the 13th round of the hard-fought contest, reports Newser.
She beat Stuti Mishra, a 14-year-old from Orlando, Fla. Arvind Mahankali, a 12-year-old from Bayside Hills, N.Y. was third place for the second year in a row. “This is a miracle,” Snigdha Nandipati told ESPN, which aired the contest.
When asked what it had taken for her to reach the pinnacle of spelling prowess, she said, “A lot.” According to CNN, she said that properly spelling the winning word was not difficult. “I knew it,” she said. “I’d seen it before.”
14-year old Nandipati won $30,000 and a trophy from Scripps, a $2,500 U.S. savings bond and reference library from Merriam-Webster, a $5,000 scholarship from the Sigma Phil Epsilon Educational Foundation and more than $2,600 in reference works from Encyclopaedia Brittanica.
Nandipati studied up to 12 hours on weekends and six hours on weekdays for several months.
According MSN BC, Snigdha enjoys reading mysteries, adventure stories and “random facts in encyclopedias, particularly those topics pertaining to science or history.”
She also loves collecting coins from around the world. Snigdha plays violin, is a member of her school yearbook club and is fluent in Telugu.
On her way to the title the San Diego eighth-grader spelled “admittatur,” an admission certificate, “arrondissement,” a French urban district, and “saccharolytic,” which means the breakdown of sugars in metabolism, writes Yahoo! News.
Stuti Mishra, a 14-year-old eighth grader from Orlando, Florida, finished in second place after misspelling “schwarmerei,” a German word which stands for excessive enthusiasm.
Arvind Mahankali, a 12-year-old seventh grader from Bayside Hills, New York, finished third for a second year in a row after misspelling “schwannoma,” a kind of nerve cell tumor.
She said her love affair with words began on her daily rides to kindergarten when her father asked her to spell words he would spot on billboards.
“My favorite word to spell was `design’ because it had the silent `g,'” Snigdha said.
Snigdha’s grandfather, who traveled from India with her grandmother to watch her compete, promised her a trip to India if she won. When she won, he rushed up to the stage and gave her a hug as confetti fell around them.
This year’s competition saw the youngest contestant, 6-year-old Lori Anne Madison of Lake Ridge, Virginia. She spelled dirigible with aplomb, but was eliminated on Wednesday night when she misspelled “ingluvies,” which stands for pouch used by birds as a receptacle for food.
The 85th annual Spelling Bee featured 278 regional winners from across the United States and eight other countries: the Bahamas, Canada, China, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, according to San Francisco Gate.
The competition took place at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center inNational Harbor, Maryland, south of Washington.
The audience, filled with families, was tense as the young contestants haltingly spelled words well above the reading levels of their respective grades in school.
American students of Indian descent, like Snigdha and Nula, have won the national bee five times in a row, and in 10 of the last 14 years.