U.N.B.E.L.I.E.V.A.B.L.E: Spelling Bee Runs Out Of Words

In a championship first, the Scripps National Spelling Bee has ended in an eight-way tie after the competition ran out of words in the final.

More than 11 million students across the U.S. competed in local and regional spelling bees with the hopes of making it to the final held in Washington D.C.

With a field narrowed down to just over 500 competitors between the age of 11 and 14, the Bee embarked on its history-making final.

After hours of spelling, the final eight competitors were told if they could remain in the Bee until the end of the 20th round, they would be crowned co-champion.

"Dr. Bailly just announced we're in uncharted territory," the Bee said.

"We won't run out of words but may run out of words to challenge our most storied spellers in Bee history. At Rd 20, 3 away, all remaining spellers will be named Co-Champions of the Scripps National Spelling Bee."

Just past midnight, and after 20 rounds, the competition finally ran out of words and conceded defeat to the eight talented spellers. 

"Dictionary loses to 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee Co-Champs," the Bee tweeted.

In a first for the 94-year-old competition, it crowned the eight remaining spellers as co-champions. The Bee has never had more than a two-way tie.

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The eight winners got through five consecutive perfect rounds, spelling the final 47 words correctly.

Some of the words competitors were asked to spell were:

  • ischiocerite
  • jindyworobak
  • psammosere
  • Borinqueño
  • autotopagnosia
The eight co-champs of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Photo: Scripps National Spelling Bee

Each winner will walk away with a trophy and an equal share of US$50,000 (AU$72,000). Not bad for a day's spelling.