OXON HILL, Md. – Harry Logan was once expelled from the National Spelling Bee Scripps and then reinstated. She missed four words in a grueling confrontation with Vikram Raju, including one that would have given her the title.
In the first-ever lightning tie-break, Harry finally won the trophy.
A 13-year-old eighth-grader from San Antonio, Texas, who three years ago was involved in the last personal bee and suffered a pandemic to return, wrote 21 words correctly during a 90-second spell, beating Vikram by six.
Harry, one of the most famous wizards in the bee, and a favorite of the crowd for his poise and positivity, will win over $ 50,000 in cash and prizes.
Perhaps no champion has ever had more falls in the final round, but Harini was no less deserving.
She is the fifth Scripps champion, coached by Grace Walters, a former writer, colleague from Texas and a Rice University student who is considering giving up the coaching business. If so, it will go away from above.
A key point came during the widely discussed bee vocabulary with several options, when Harry defined the word “pullulation” as nesting mating birds. Scripps said the correct answer was swarming bees.
“After you graduated, we did a little research on what our job is to make sure we made the right decision,” said Harry, Chief Justice Mary Brooks. “We (did) dive a little deep into that word, and in fact the answer you gave to that word is considered correct, so we’re going to recover you.”
From there, Harini reached the final against Vikram. Each of them wrote two words correctly. Then Scripps uttered the harshest words of the night.
Both are misspelled. Then Vikram missed again, and Harini got the right “ser” by separating her one word from the title. The word was “sleepy,” and she was wrong.
Two more rounds, two more words with errors in each, and Scripps brought out the podium and the beep for the lightning round, in which all the finalists had trained in an almost empty hall hours earlier.
Harini was faster and resy, and the final number of judges confirmed her victory.
The last completely personal version of the bee had no tie-break and ended in eight sides. The 2020 bee was canceled due to a pandemic, and in 2021 it was mostly virtual, with only 11 finalists gathered in Florida as Zaila Vanguard became America’s first black champion.
The change continued this year as Scripps terminated its deal with longtime ESPN partner and created its own telecast for its ION and Bounce networks with actor and literacy fan Levar Burton as host. Sometimes the transition was difficult, with long and uneven commercial breaks that broke the action, and glitches in the sound that opened the inner workings of the broadcast to a personal crowd.
The bee itself was thinner, it had less than half of the participants in 2019 due to the retirement of sponsors and the end of the wildcard program. And for the first time, spellcasters had to answer vocabulary questions live on stage, which led to several surprising eliminations in the semifinals.
Harry bowed to the word, which was for a short time, the greatest shock of all. Then she came back on stage and at the end she was still there.
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