Some words from our winner

Ananya Vinay, speller 264, said she was hoping this would happen.

This: spelling gifblaar then marocain correctly, and becoming the champion of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

"If you try your best, you're a winner," the California sixth grader said.


Ananya said she knew every word she got in the Bee. That's after finishing quickly last year - she was eliminated on multivalent, and tied for 172nd place in her first appearance at the Bee.

"It was kind of intense," she said of 21 rounds of head-to-head competition with Rohan Rajeev, speller 235 and an Oklahoma eighth grader in his first Bee.

Ananya said she's studied a ton since last year's defeat. 


Her father, Vinay Sreekumar, said Ananya is highly self-motivated.

"I'm really excited and happy to see she won. She deserved it," he said. "It's not a surprise for me. She worked hard for it."

Ananya had two more years of eligibility, but she wanted to get it done this year, her dad said.

"She came here to win and she knew she could do it," he said.

Anu Poliyedath, Anaya's mother, said her daughter has a passion for spelling.

Ananya's grandmother came from India to watch, and family was texting from India. A group of friends was also watching in California, at their home theater. They DVRed the Bee so Ananya and her family can watch it later, and they, too, texted support.

"I'm proud she was so confident," Anu said.

Ananya's favorite word is spizzerinctum, which means ambition to succeed.

“It motivates me,” she said. “I hope I get a word I know and I just keep going."

Ananya likes to volunteer because she likes to help people. She’d like to be a doctor, scientist or a writer, and she likes reading mythology and adventure stories.

“I like finding stories behind words, investigating them further,” she said.

One of her favorites is Philomel, a word that means nightingale. It comes from the tale of a princess who was turned into a nightingale.

Ananya said she thought the words she got were easy ones. And she suggested others might want to start spelling, too.

"Just get started," she said. "It's really fun."