The End? (by Alia Abiad)

Editor's note: The following blog post was written by speller 58 Alia Abiad on the morning after the finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee (where she finished tied for fifth). We are republishing it with with permission of the Abiad family.

The End?

By Alia Abiad

(Written the morning after the finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee)

A world ended with the sound of a bell.

After the Confetti Falls...

If you were watching the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee on ESPN, you saw some incredible drama unfold on the stage. You watched the confetti fly as Sriram and Ansun were declared co-champions, and you heard them discuss their excitement about the winning words with ESPN reporter Kaylee Hartung.

But what about after the lights go out and the cameras are turned off? What happens next?

Quite a lot actually. Consider:

Three former champions on how the Bee has shaped their lives

It's the first time since their respective championships - in 1999 and 2008 - that Nupur Lala and Sameer Mishra have returned to the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Along with George Thampy, the 2000 champion and a Bee judge, the three sat down to talk about how the Bee changed them.

"Coming back, it's like Brigadoon," Thampy said. "It's a magical village where nothing can go wrong, but it's only there for a year."

Ansun, Sriram: The first co-champions in 52 years

Sriram Hathwar (Speller 154), an eighth grader from Painted Post, New York and Ansun Sujoe (Speller 237), a seventh grader from Fort Worth, Texas are co-champions of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. This is the first time there have been co-champions since 1962.

"We both know the competition is against the dictionary, not against each other," Sriram said. "I'm happy to share the trophy with him."

Ansun said as the competition wore on, he hoped that he would share the trophy.


"Whatever," Ansun Sujoe (Speller 237) said as the seconds ticked down. He couldn't get the word, "feuilleton," out of his mouth, but he spelled it correctly.

Ansun is sharing the trophy with Sriram Hathwar (Speller 154), whose last correct spelling was "stichomythia." The last co-champions were in 1962.

Seven words remain

These words are getting more than difficult.

"Augenphilologie," Dr. Bailly said.

"Can you please repeat the word?" asked Ansun Sujoe (Speller 237)

He had trouble getting the word out, but spelled it correctly.

It's linguistics that misrepresents the realities of speech because of overemphasis on writing.

Sriram Hathwar (Speller 154) got "sdrucciola" -- being or exhibiting triple rhyme in which the last accent falls on the antepenultimate syllable.

"Gesundheit," he said upon hearing the word. He, too, spelled it correctly.

Sriram misspells

In his fifth appearance at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, Sriram Hathwar (Speller 154) said he was happy to make it back to the finals.

This time, he studied more for the Bee, he said.

"I really just tried to prepare as much as I could," he said.

He's also made more friends.

"Everything is just fun," he said. "Each one has been more fun than the last."

Sriram is an eighth grader from Painted Post, New York.

He misspelled "corpsbruder," a close comrade. If Ansun Sujoe (Speller 237) spells two words correctly in a row, he is the champion.