The fourth time is the charm. Texas 14-year-old Harini Logan clinched the title of Scripps National Spelling Bee champ Thursday, making history by winning in the first-ever spell-off.
“I think honestly so surreal, it’s my fourth time at the Bee,” Harini said on stage, per CNN. “This is such a dream, this is my fourth bee and I’m just so overwhelmed.”
Why was there a spell-off during the Scripps National Spelling Bee?
In the 93rd competition, Logan and 12-year-old Vikram Raju both failed to spell two words correctly in a row. The judges decided to place the competitors in a spell-off, which consists of 90 seconds where each speller tries to spell as many words correctly as possible.
“We activated the spell-off because it was the best chance to show the extent of these spellers’ preparation,” Bee executive director Dr. J. Michael Durnil said, per USA Today. “Clearly, they demonstrated their deep capacity for the competition.”
Who won the spell-off in the Scripps National Spelling Bee?
Raju finished the spell-off with 15 out of 19 words correct, and Logan won the competition by spelling 21 out of 26 words right.
About the spell-off, Logan told USA Today, “At first I was a little uneasy and just decided to take it in stride. We knew it was going to be a part of the competition, if it came down to it.”
Who is Harini Logan?
Logan is “an avid reader who said she plans to write her first book when she is in high school,” The New York Times reported.
In her bio, she mentions an affinity for the piano and says she is teaching herself the ukulele.
Though it’s her fourth time competing in the national spelling bee, this year marked her first year making it to the finals. She lists her favorite food as minestrone soup, her favorite author as Roshani Chokshi and her favorite subject — science.
The Texas native heads home with $50,000 cash in her pocket, the Scripps Cup trophy, $400 in reference works from “Encyclopedia Britannica” and some well-deserved pride, per Scripps National Spelling Bee.
“She is incredible. She is brilliant. She is poised,” Grace Walters, a former speller and one of Logan’s coaches, told USA Today. “I’ve watched her encounter so many challenges in her journey and she tackles every one of them and moves forward with an exuberant smile.”