ESPN aired the spelling bee finals live, paring the group of 12 down to the last speller standing. The first elimination came to Samuel Pereles in the first round of the finals, going down on “ecribellate.” Four kids were knocked out in the next round before a perfect run through the remaining 7 finalists.
With only three spellers left — Gokul Venkatachalam, Sriram Harthram and Ansun Sujoe — the bee moved on to the championship round. Gokul went down first on “Kierkegaardian.” Sriram made the next mistake with “corpsbruder” but got to stay in the competition when Ansun misspelled “antigropelos.”
The two boys continued to spell words correctly until they used up all of the 25 championship-round questions. It all came down to Ansun taking every possible second before correctly spelling “feuilleton.” Since Sriram had already spelled “stichomythia” in that round, he and Ansun got to be the first co-champions since 1969.
Here are the top 12 spellers of 2014
12. Samuel Pereles (Waynesboro, VA, age 13)
11. Neha Konakalla (Cupertino, CA, age 14)
10. Tajaun Gibbison (Mandeville, Jamaica, age 13)
9. Kate Miller (Abilene, TX, age 14)
8. Tejas Muthusamy (Glen Allen, VA, age 11)
7. Jacob Williamson (Cape Coral, FL, age 15)
6. Mary Horton (West Melbourne, FL, age 13)
5. Alia Abiad (Western Springs, IL, age 14)
4. Ashwin Veeramani (North Royalton, OH, age 14)
3. Gokul Venkatachalam (Chesterfield, MO, age 13)
1. (tie) Sriram Harthram (Painted Post, NY, age 14)
1. (tie) Ansun Sujoe (Fort Worth, TX, age 13)