The spelling bee was stopped after it went 20 rounds, which included a run of 47 correct words to end the competition.
The decision was made after round 17, when it was decided that while there were plenty of words left in the dictionary, there were only enough challenging words for three final rounds.
The eight co-champions are: Rishik Gandhasri, Erin Howard, Saketh Sundar, Shruthika Padhy, Sohum Sukhatankar, Abhijay Kodali, Christopher Serrao and Rohan Raja.
“We have plenty of words left on our list but will soon run out of words that would challenge you,” said the Bee’s official pronouncer Dr. Jacques Bailly, calling those remaining in the 17th round “the most phenomenal assemblage of super-spellers” in the competition’s history. The crowd agreed with a standing ovation.
“We’re throwing the dictionary at you and so far, you are showing the dictionary who is boss.”
And, sure enough, all of the competitors from round 17 made it to the end.
The finals of the competition went on more than an hour and half passed the scheduled time with words like omphalopsychite, Geeldikkop and auftaktigkeit.
Spellcheck may not recognize those words, but the champions sure did.
Even as the night grew late and the tension ran high, many competitors would still offer high fives or a clasp of hands as another student prepared for or came back from successfully spelling their word. By the end, it was full hugs of support for one another.
The kids got tired, some misheard words at times, but their determination never broke as they carefully worked through each spelling.
Five rounds and 47 words in a row were spelled perfectly. Each of the eight champions with receive the $50,000 prize.