12-year-old Bruhat Soma emerges as the victor in the Scripps Spelling Bee after a spell-off in Florida

Bruhat Soma, a 12-year-old from Florida, emerged victorious by defeating seven other finalists in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. In a remarkable turn of events, he managed to outspell the final contender, marking only the second time in the competition’s 96-year history that a spell-off was required.

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In Tampa, Florida, a seventh-grader showcased an impressive record in spelling bees. With a winning streak of four competitions and eight months without a loss, the young student was ready to take on the challenge. As the number of participants dwindled down to just two, Bruhat remained composed and confidently tackled the rapid-fire tiebreaker. In a remarkable display of skill, he correctly spelled 29 out of 30 words in just 90 seconds. Unfortunately, his final opponent, Faizan Zaki, stumbled and misspelled nine words. Overwhelmed with emotions, Faizan left the stage in tears, finding solace in the comforting hugs of other contestants.

Spell-offs are a unique aspect of the Spelling Bee competition. According to the Spelling Bee’s rules, spell-offs are special rounds that are activated when the competition goes beyond a certain time limit and there are multiple competitors remaining. In a spell-off, the ultimate champion is determined by the competitor who successfully spells the highest number of words correctly within a 90-second time frame.

Bruhat claimed the coveted title with the word “abseil.”

To “abseil” is to descend a rock face or any nearly vertical surface by utilizing a doubled rope wrapped around the body and secured at a higher point. This action is also known as rappelling.

According to Bruhat, he had been practicing the spell-off on a daily basis for a duration of six months (AP).

He expressed confidence in his performance, attributing it to the immense effort he had invested. Despite the possibility of not needing the tiebreaker, he remained proud of his hard work.

“I was really determined to win, which is why I dedicated so much time to practicing for the spell-off,” he explained to AP.

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