Scripps crowns first solo spelling champ in four years
by Leigh Jones
Posted 6/02/17, 11:01 am
After three years of ties, the Scripps National Spelling Bee crowned just one champion this year. Ananya Vinay, a 12-year-old sixth-grader from Fresno, Calif., won the trophy after 35 grueling rounds by correctly spelling marocain, a ribbed crepe fabric used in women’s clothing. Ananya beat out 290 other spellers who began this year’s competition Tuesday. Six-year-old Oklahoma homeschooler Edith Fuller, the youngest speller in the competition, didn’t make it into Wednesday’s finals. Raksheet Kota, the 14-year-old eighth-grader from Houston profiled in WORLD last month, finished in a two-way tie for 5th place. After winning the competition, Ananya said she knew every word judges asked her to spell: “It’s like a dream come true. I’m so happy right now.” She is the 13th consecutive Indian-American to win the bee, and, like most of her predecessors, she honed her skills in two “minor league” bees open only to Indian-American students, the North South Foundation and the South Asian Spelling Bee.
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Leigh is acting managing editor for WORLD Radio. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate who spent six years as a newspaper reporter in Texas before joining WORLD. Leigh also co-wrote Infinite Monster: Courage, Hope, and Resurrection in the Face of One of America's Largest Hurricanes. She resides with her husband and daughter in Houston, Texas.