Florida 12-year-old Bruhat Soma wins Scripps Spelling Bee in a spell-off

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Bruhat Soma, 12, of Florida defeated seven other finalists and took down the final contender in only the second spell-off in the 96-year history of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

>> Read more trending news

The Tampa, Florida seventh-grader had not lost a spelling bee in eight months and had a four-bee winning streak going when he stepped onto the big stage. After the field of 148 contestants was whittled down to the final two, Bruhat calmly ripped through the rapid-fire tiebreaker spelling 29-of-30 words correctly in 90 seconds Thursday night. His final rival, Faizan Zaki, misspelled nine words, the Associated Press reported. They shook hands, and Faizan walked off the stage in tears, receiving hugs from other contestants, CBS News reported.

Spell-offs are “special rounds activated to determine a champion once the competition exceeds a certain time limit and there is more than one competitor left,“ according to the Spelling Bee’s rules. In a spell-off, the competitor who spells the most words correctly in 90 seconds wins.

The word that gave Bruhat the crown was abseil:

“Abseil” is a verb that means “to descend a rock face or another near-vertical surface by using a doubled rope coiled around the body and fixed at a higher point.” Rappel is a synonym.

Bruhat had rehearsed the spell-off every day for six months, he told AP.

That gave him confidence, he said, because he had worked so hard on it -- even though he knew he might not even have to use the tiebreaker.

“And I really wanted to win. That’s why I practiced the spell-off so much,” he said to AP.

Bruhat earned more than $50,000 in cash and prizes, CBS News reported.

Comments on this article
On AirWMMO - Orlando's Classic Hits Logo

mobile apps

Everything you love about wmmo.com and more! Tap on any of the buttons below to download our app.

amazon alexa

Enable our Skill today to listen live at home on your Alexa Devices!