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Scripps National Spelling Bee: 12-year-old Bruhat Soma wins title after sudden tiebreaker

Bruhat won a trophy and more than $50,000 in cash and prizes.

Bruhat Soma was invincible before the Scripps National Spelling Bee, and neither the dictionary, his competitors, nor a lightning-round tiebreaker could stop him on his road to victory.

On Thursday night, Bruhat won the title after spelling 29 words correctly in the tiebreaker, defeating Faizan Zaki by nine. He is awarded a trophy and more than $50,000 in cash and gifts.

The 12-year-old seventh-grader from Tampa, Florida, blitzed through 30 phrases in 90 seconds Thursday night, sounding more like an auctioneer than the finest speller in the English language, and judges judged that he accurately spelt 29 of them—nine more than his competition, Faizan Zaki. Bruhat wins a trophy and more than $50,000 in cash and prizes.

He practised the spell-off every day for six months.

“I was pretty confident that I had a chance of winning because I’ve been working so hard,” Bruhat said, explaining why he spent so much time on a tiebreaker he may not even need. “And I really wanted to win. That’s why I practiced the spell-off so much.”

Bruhat is the second consecutive Tampa Bay area champion, and his triumph means that Indian Americans have won 29 of the last 35 spelling championships. His parents came from Telangana, a southern Indian state that has produced many Indian American winners and contenders since 1999.

Video credit: Associated Press

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Scripps National Spelling Bee: 12-year-old Bruhat Soma wins title after sudden tiebreaker

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