Maro-What? Sixth-Grader Wins National Spelling Bee

Under the new system, a tie will be declared only if three or fewer students spell all their words correctly and they have the same score on the final written test.

"Part of speech?" Ananya said.

But "marram", a word of Scandinavian origin referring to a type of beach grass, gave Rajeev some trouble, his first misspelled word in 13 hours.

12-year-old Ananya correctly spelled the word marocain, a dress fabric made of warp of silk or rayon and a filling of other yarns, to win the spelling bee held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in suburban Washington.

They have family in India and her grandmother traveled from the country to watch in person.

Ananya barely cracked a smile even when her parents and younger brother stormed onto the stage to embrace her as the confetti fell. The spelling battle between Ananya and Rohan lasted for almost 20 rounds.

When asked how she can possibly spell words such as the ones she was asked she said nonchalantly, "I just remember them".

Vinay won $40,000 in cash, a $2,500 savings bond and a large collection of reference books, NPR reported.

Congratulations to our 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee Champion, Ananya Vinay.

To end that scourge of ties, the spelling bee introduced a written "tiebreaker test" this year.

Ananya was on the radar of some veteran bee watchers but didn't come in with a high profile.

12-year-old Ananya Vinay lifts the prize after clinching the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee Championship 2017.

Rohan was an impressive competitor, stunning viewers as he whizzed through words like cheiropompholyx, durchkomponiert and potichimanie.

Among the other words young participants were asked to spell were: pterygoideus, mollienisia, cinerarium and hesychast. Ananya added that it was interesting to go back and forth for so many rounds. Ananya is the first outright victor of the competition in three years. Her favourite sport is basketball, and she is a Golden State Warriors fan.

She'd spent 45 minutes and almost two dozen rounds going back and forth with 14-year-old Rohan Rajeev, of Edmond, Okla.

  • Larry Hoffman