California sixth-grader wins National Spelling Bee

The pair were the last two standing of the initial 291 spellers. "I am so happy right now". She took home $40,000 in cash and prizes after she correctly spelled the word "marocain", which is of French origin and means a type of dress fabric made of ribbed crepe and yarn.

After she was proclaimed the champion, she rocked side-to-side, barely smiling until her dad rushed to hug her. Her entire family was on stage and their happiness couldn't be put in words.

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

Ghana's representative at the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee competition, Lilly Tugbah, says she will not allow her inability to secure the topmost award dampen her spirit but will rather focus on the positive experience she garnered from the competition.

"If you try your best, you're a victor", said Vinay, in an interview after her win.

She is taking home a $40,000 grand prize and plenty of bragging rights. And she'll have to find time to watch her beloved Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals while enjoying the champion's whirlwind media tour.

Ananya said she knew every word she got in the Bee.

By yesterday afternoon, just 15 spellers were still standing and went on to compete for the championship whose final rounds were broadcast live.

This year's favorite, Shourav Dasari, an eighth-grader from Texas, surprised the audience.

After 12 hours of competition, only two contestants were still in the running.

Back and forth they went, Rohan Rajeev and Ananya Vinay. The girl, named Edith Fuller, defeats 52 other children at the regional contest, spelling such challenging words as jnana, sarsaparilla and Baedeker.

Runner-up Rohan Rajeev missed the word "marram", a Scandinavian-derived word for beach grass. The Edmond native would have been the first Oklahoman victor since 1965.

Ananya Vinay is the 18th Spelling Bee champion of Indian heritage and also the first victor since 2013, to claim the title alone.

2017 marked the 90th year of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Reportedly, a tie-breaker test was also added this year however, it did not come into play. However, it was not too long, before she was foiled by the word saccharomycete, a yeast fungus, and fell out of the competition. "It has recently become popular...do you know the word "covfefe"?"

  • Zachary Reyes