Three Dallas-area students were among eight spellers from around the country who were declared co-champions at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. on May 30, a historic finish for the 92-year-old competition.
Abhijay Kodali, 12, from Flower Mound; Rohan Raja, 13, from Irving; and Sohum Sukhatankar, 13, from Dallas were joined by Rishik Gandhasri from California, Erin Howard from Alabama, Shruthika Padhy and Christopher Serrao from New Jersey, and Saketh Sundar from Maryland.
Each of the spellers successfully navigated 20 rounds of the spelling bee, with the eight spellers collectively spelling the final 47 words correctly. Sukhatankar was the first Dallas-area student to be named co-champion, correctly spelling "pendeloque." Kodali joined him soon after by getting "palama" right, and Raja became the eighth and final co-champion when he knew how to spell "odylic."
Officials for the bee declared prior to round 18 that if each of the remaining spellers were successful through round 20, then each would be declared co-champion. There had never before been a two-way tie in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, much less an eight-way tie.
The three Texas students continue the recent strong spelling history for the state, which has claimed four other champions in the 21st century, including Karthik Nemmani from McKinney in 2018.
Each co-champion will receive a replica of the Scripps National Spelling Bee trophy and the full $50,000 prize that goes along with it.