Dev Shah, a 14-year-old boy from Largo, Florida, has won the 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee, nailing the word “psammophile” – meaning an organism that thrives in sandy soils – in the 15th round of the contest’s finals.
On Thursday, he edged out fellow eighth-grader Charlotte Walsh, 14, from Arlington, Virginia, who finished in second place after she misspelled “daviely” – a Scottish-rooted word for listlessly – in the 14th round.
Dev, a student at Morgan Fitzgerald middle school, had correctly – and swiftly – spelled “bathypitotmeter” in the 14th round, but under spelling bee rules needed to land one more word to be declared winner.
Dev was crowned champion in a hail of confetti before being joined on stage by his parents and other relatives. He takes home $50,000 (£39,900) cash from EW Scripps Co, the bee’s sponsor, plus further monetary prizes and reference works from Encyclopedia Britannica and Merriam-Webster.
The Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary is the official reference for the competition.
Dev, whose hobbies include reading, tennis, playing the cello and solving maths problems, tied for 51st place in the 2019 edition of the spelling bee, and tied for 76th place in 2021.
He was among 11 contestants, aged 11 to 14, who advanced to the finals of 2023’s event after beating a field of 220 other competitors participating in the three-day contest, held in National Harbor, Maryland, just outside Washington DC.
2023’s total field comprised 94 girls, 134 boys and two spellers who identify as non-binary. One competitor did not specify a gender.
The bee is televised live. The excitement is heightened by TV commentators who describe the action as contestants rack their brains to come up with the correct spellings for often obscure words.
Last year, Harini Logan, 14, from San Antonio, Texas, correctly spelled 22 words during a 90-second spell-off to claim the top prize. It was the first time a spell-off had decided the prestigious competition, which began in 1925.
The 2022 show was broadcast on Ion and Bounce, both networks owned by a Scripps subsidiary, after 27 years on the cable sports channel ESPN. Ion will again carry 2023’s finals.
( Information from politico.com was used in this report. Also if you have any problem of this article or if you need to remove this articles, please email here and we will delete this immediately. [email protected] )