Highlighting their dominance over the past few years, six Indian-origin students are among the eight participants who won the prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee 2019 after defeating over 550 other contestants in an unprecedented competition in the US.
It is the first time in the 94-year history of the competition that more than two co-champions have been named.
The competition, broadcast nationally on ESPN, took place at the Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor, Maryland. The 562 contestants ranged in age from 7 to 14 and came from across the US and several other countries, including Canada, Ghana and Jamaica.
The 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee co-champions are:
- Rishik Gandhasri (Ri-shik Gun-duh-sree), 13, from San Jose, California. He is a seventh-grader at Chaboya Middle School. Gandhasri competed in 2018 (tied for 25th place).
- Abhijay Kodali (Uh-bee-jay Kuh-DAH-lee), 12, from Flower Mound, Texas. He is a sixth-grader from McKamy Middle School. Kodali competed in 2018 (tied for 3rd place).
- Shruthika Padhy (shroo-THEE-kuh PA-dee), 13, from Cherry Hill, New Jersey. She is an eighth-grader at Rosa International Middle School. Padhy competed in 2016 (tied for 22nd place), 2017 (tied for 7th place) and 2018 (tied for 10th place).
- Rohan Raja, 13, from Dallas, Texas. He is a seventh-grader at Coppell Middle School West. Raja competed in 2018 (tied for 10th place).
- Saketh Sundar (SAH-keth sun-DAHR), 13, from Clarksville, Maryland. He is an eighth-grader from Clarksville Middle School. Sundar competed in 2016 (tied for 46th place), 2017 (tied for 12th place) and 2018 (tied for 19th place).
- Sohum Sukhatankar (SO-hum SOO-kuh-tuhng-kuhr), 13, from Dallas, Texas. He is a seventh-grader at St. Mark's School of Texas. Sukhatankar competed in 2017 (tied for 23rd place) and 2018 (tied for 25th place).
- Christopher Serrao (Suh-RAU), 13, from Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. He is a seventh-grader at Readington Middle School. Serrao competed in 2017 (tied for 41st place) and 2018 (tied for 34th place).
- Erin Howard, 14, from Huntsville, Alabama. She is an eighth-grader at Mountain Gap P-8 School. Howard competed in 2016 (tied for 22nd place), 2017 (tied for 7th place) and 2018 (9th place).
As the Scripps National Spelling Champions, the group will begin first thing tomorrow a media tour on numerous national networks, entertainment programs and digital platforms including "Good Morning America," "Today Show," "New Day," "CBS This Morning," "Live with Kelly and Ryan" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"