An Indian-American girl won the 85th Scripps National Spelling Bee contest held on Thursday at a convention centre in Washington.
Snigdha Nandipati, an eighth-grade student from San Diego, California became the fifth consecutive Indian American winner and the 10th in 14 years after correctly spelling "guetapens," a French word for ambush or snare.
Nandipati won the first place trophy after beating eight other finalists. The other two top spots were claimed by Stuti Mishra, 14, from West Melbourne, Florida, finished second after misspelling "schwarmerei" -- which means excessive, unbridled enthusiasm; and Arvind V. Mahankali, 12, a seventh grader from Bayside Hills, New York, who finished third for the second year in a row after misspelling "schwannoma," a type of nerve cell tumor.
After winning the contest, Nandipati, said, "It is a miracle." She told the Associated Press that she knew the winning word when she heard it.
She will receive $30,000 in cash, an engraved trophy, a $5,000 scholarship, a $2,500 savings bond and $2,600 in reference works from the Encyclopedia Britannica and an online language course.
Her parents moved to the U.S. in 1995 and her father, Krishnarao Nandipati, is a software consultant for mobile technology firm Qualcomm. He said his daughter first showed an interest in spelling words as early as age 4. As they rode in the car, he would call out words on billboards, according to the AP.
This is the second time Nandipati has participated in spelling bee. Last year, she was eliminated after misspelling the word "kerystic" -- spelling it with and "i" instead of an "y" -- and was tied for the 27th place. Kerystic refers to a sermon.
Nandipati, who wants to become a psychiatrist or a neurosurgeon, told reporters that she studied for 10 to 12 hours on weekends and six hours on weekdays to win this year's contest. Her father helped out by developing a computer program that had some 40,000 virtual flashcards and also a knowledge-testing function.
In all, the week began with 278 participants, including the youngest, six-year-old Lori Anne Madison of Lake Ridge, Virginia, who was eliminated during the preliminary rounds. She said she'll be back next year.