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12-year-old Bruhat Soma wins National Spelling Bee 2024


National Harbor, MD, May 31, 2024: Bruhat Soma, a 12-year-old from Florida, emerged victorious in the 96th Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday night. He outspelled seven other finalists, winning in the Bee’s second-ever spell-off.

In the intense spell-off, Bruhat spelled 29 words correctly in 90 seconds, surpassing his final competitor, 12-year-old Faizan Zaki from Texas, who spelled 20 words correctly.

Spell-offs are special rounds used to determine a winner when the competition exceeds a certain time with more than one competitor remaining. The contestant who spells the most words correctly in 90 seconds wins.

The word that clinched Bruhat’s victory was “abseil.”

“I’m really excited. It’s been my goal for this past year to win, and I’ve been working really hard. I really can’t describe it, I’m still shaking,” Bruhat said on the stage, holding his trophy.

During the competition, Bruhat correctly spelled words such as “habitude,” “indumentum,” “dehnstufe,” “Okvik,” and “Hoofddorp.” He also accurately defined “sine qua non.”

As the winner, the seventh-grader will receive a $50,000 cash prize and other rewards.

Bruhat loves to play and watch basketball, and his favorite player is LeBron James, according to his bio on the Spelling Bee website. He also likes to play badminton and Ping-Pong. Bruhat played the snare drum in his middle school band. He is also an avid reader.

Bruhat previously competed in 2022 (tied for 163rd place) and 2023 (tied for 74th place).

This year’s Spelling Bee featured over 240 competitors, with eight making it to the finals held at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. The competition included preliminary, quarterfinal, and semifinal rounds on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The finalists were YY Liang, 12, from New York; Aditi Muthukumar, 13, from Colorado; Shrey Parikh, 12, from California; Ananya Rao Prassanna, 13, from North Carolina; Rishabh Saha, 14, from California; Kirsten Tiffany Santos, 13, from Texas; Bruhat Soma, 12, from Florida; and Faizan Zaki, 12, from Texas.

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