National Spelling Bee victor describes 'really amazing' win

Carla Harmon
June 3, 2017

Victor twelve-year-old Ananya Vinay from Fresno, California, faced off against 14-year-old Rohan Rajeev, each correctly spelling heiligenschein, durchkomponiert, and sceloporus over 21 championship rounds in the lead up to the winning word.

Oklahoma's Own Rohan Rajeev, and first-time Scripps National Spelling Bee contestant, finished as Runner-Up in Thursday night's competition. "We'd like you to spell a word". And spellers get tripped up by words that many older people come across frequently.

Before taking a shot at "covfefe", Vinay ran through the list of typical spelling bee questions asking for its definition, language or origin and alternate pronunciations, each to laughs and mock answers from CNN's Chris Cuomo and Alyson Camerota.


Vinay plans to split the money with her 7-year-old brother and put it in to her college account.

Finally, the newly crowned champ from Fresno, Calif., gave it a go and spelled it "c-o-f-e-f.e".

After three years of ties, the Scripps National Spelling Bee has a single champion.


Here are some of the words Ananya and Rohan grappled with during their 45-minute spell-off.

"I just had a love of reading when I was little and then eventually that became a love of words and then competing in spelling bees", she said. Praying really reassured me and it really helped, Rohan said.

In nabbing the trophy, Vinayalso went home with more than $40,000 in cash and prizes.


The youngest-ever competitor, Edith Fuller of Tulsa, Oklahoma, who turned 6 on April 22, was eliminated from the competition late on Wednesday.

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