The 2012 Scripps National Spelling Bee began with 278 contestants from every U.S. state, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Department of Defense Dependents Schools in Europe, the Bahamas, Canada, China, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.
By Thursday night, the field was whittled down to nine finalists competing for a shot at spelling bee immortality. The finalists were Snigdha Nandipati of San Diego, Calif.; Frank Cahill of Parker, Colo.; Stuti Mishra of West Melbourne, Fla.; Gifton Wright of Spanish Town, Jamaica; Jordan Hoffman of Lee's Summit, Mo.; Emma Ciereszynski of Dover, N.H.; Arvind Mahankali of Bayside Hills, N.Y.; Nicholas Rushlow of Pickerington, Ohio; and Lena Greenberg of Philadelphia, Pa.
The competition ended in defeat for all but 14-year-old Nandipati, who won the title of best speller in the nation by spelling the word "guetapens." She clinched the championship after second-place finisher, Stuti Mishra, was eliminated when she incorrectly spelled "schwarmerei," replacing the "a" with an "e."
Winning words from years past include cymotrichous, stromuhr, laodicean, succedaneum, serrefine and ursprache among others.
This was Nandipati's second appearance in the competition, and she became the first champion from California since 2007.
Watch her spell the winning word below.
She will be awarded $30,000, Merriam-Webster's Third New International Dictionary, unabridged, on CD-ROM, and the Samuel Louis Sugarman Award—a 2012 United States Mint Proof Set and Award Certificate—for her victory.
Mishra will be awarded $12,500 for her second-place finish. Preliminary participants are awarded a $100 gift card, semifinalists grab a $500 gift card, and championship finalists to seventh-place finalists are awarded $1,500.
The surprise of the spelling bee was six-year-old Lori Anne Madison, who was eliminated when she spelled ingluvies incorrectly. Watch the video of her final word below.
Fun Facts About This Year's Tournament, as per Spellingbee.com:
-Forty-one of the 278 contestants are only children, without sibling.
-Speller No. 89, Gifton Wright, has 10 brothers and sisters.
-Speller No. 101, Nat Jordan, has an identical twin named Lily, who finished 10th in the 2011 contest.
-Twenty spellers have at least one relative who competed in a previous national final.
-Three spellers have each had two older siblings compete in previous national finals.
-Speller No. 92, Vanya Shivashankar, is the younger sister of the 2009 national champion, Kayva Shivashankar.
-Of the 278 spellers, 84 percent were between the ages of 12 and 14 years old.
Congratulations to Snigdha and the other competitors.