Scripps National Spelling Bee Live Blog: Sukanya Roy Spells ‘Cymotrichous’ Correct to Win Bee


June 2, 2011

Scripps National Spelling Bee Live Blog: Sukanya Roy Spells 'Cymotrichous' Correct to Win Bee11:14 p.m.: Sukanya Roy was a spelling machine all night, and when she finally broke through and won, we found that she was far from a machine.

Roy spelled “cymotrichous” right, and as she finished the word — a word she admitted to knowing — she broke out into a huge smile. Then, she triumphantly hoisted the trophy above her head.

And now, she’s having an impromptu news conference by the looks of it, which is, to say the least, odd.

Laura Newcombe can’t quite break through, and Canada’s drought continues.

Good times.

11:10 p.m.: Laura gets “sorites” wrong, and who hasn’t been there before?

That means Sukanya has a chance to win.

11:09 p.m.: We could end up with a tie? That’s kind of un-American.

But if Laura Newcombe wins, that’s un-American too, since, you know, she’s Canadian.

11:07 p.m.:  Joanna Ye is gone. That means Canada still has hope with Laura Newcombe going strong. She’ll have to go through the “Stoic” Sukanya Roy to do so.

This is what you do all those dictionary drills in the basement for.

Who wants it more?!?!

11:02 p.m.: Arvind Mahankali spells “Jugendstil” wrong, and in typical Arvind fashion, he makes a spectacle of it.

He gets an elongated standing ovation, before making a joke about silent letters. Billy Madison feels your pain, bud.

Oh, and he leaves with a salute.

A salute.

10:59 p.m.: Laura gets another one right. Canada is on pins and needles.

10:57 p.m.: I think we’re at the point where we have no more TV timeouts. It’s kind of like the NHL playoffs.

10:53 p.m.: If you’re hoping for someone to erupt like a volcano after winning, Arvind Mahankali is your guy (“I’ll scream ‘aggggh’ if I win”). If subdued is more your thing, Sukanya Roy is your pick. To say she’s been emotionless thus far would be an insult to a rock.

10:48 p.m.: And finally, we’re down to four. Dakota Jones misfires on “zanja” and he’s gone. But he did get a standing ovation.

10:43 p.m.: Joana Le just spelled a word of Sanskrit origin correctly. At this rate, they should have made her physically spell it out in Sanskrit to make things more difficult.

If someone doesn’t have a sitcom written about these five finalists by the end of the tourney, I’ll be supremely disappointed.

10:41 p.m.: And now, they’re guessing and getting them right as Dakota Jones cahses in.

10:38 p.m.: We’ve had three straight perfect rounds. There is no end in sight.

10:32 p.m.: Laura Newcombe, a.k.a. Canada’s last spelling hope, spells huipil right to stay alive. She also writes her own short stories.

10:25 p.m.: It’s almost 10:30. And no one has fainted. That’s good.

10:21 p.m.: “Canada’s hopes are still alive.”

Laura Newcombe seemingly throws up a Hail Mary and gets “caciovallo,” which is a “cheese from matted curd.”

Newcombe, the thee-year vet has just as good a chance as anyone to win this.

If you listen close enough, you can hear the Great White North cheering hear on.

10:20 p.m.: Why is “Can you use that in a question?” an applicable question in these things? No one uses these words in sentences. No one.

10:15 p.m.: Mashad Arora spells “samiel” wrong, and therefore, he must take his seat among the others who have met their spelling demise.

As he does, his parents go to console him, and he wants none of it. You have to like that sort of competitive fire. Kevin Youkilis-like.

10:10 p.m.: Sriram Hathwar misspells a word for a flying squirrels, and spellers are now dropping like flies.

As Sriram spelled that one wrong, we got a cool look from behind the judge’s table. There is an actual bell that they ring when the word is spelled incorrectly. Good to see the Bee hasn’t given into technology just yet.

10:05 p.m.: Dhivya Murugan misses, and she is gone. She gets kind parting words from the annoucning team, as she is compared to VCU for her Cinderella run.

Yeah, but can she spell Shaka Smart?

10:02 p.m.: Veronica Penny misses on “rougeout” and she is eliminated. Color guy says that the way she spelled it was “plausible.”

Unfortunately for Ms. Penny, plausible doesn’t equal the gold trophy. Oh well.

10:00 p.m.: Mashad Arora just spelled “psittacines.” It sounds nothing like it looks like. These kids are good. That is all.

9:57 p.m.: Mashad Arora just spelled “psittacines.” It sounds nothing like it looks like. These kids are good. That is all.

9:44 p.m.: Arvind Mahankali, our resident cheese expert, just spelled a word right. I would tell you what the word was, but I didn’t write it down in time.

Hint: It was a word I couldn’t spell.

Prakash Mishra was just eliminated. He still has the Bee’s best shirt. So that’s awesome.

9:40 p.m.: “I’m Mike Cole, and my parents call me a huge disappointment.”

9:35 p.m.: Dakota Jones was just praised for his dedication to getting better as a speller. He’s got the hard workd and grit that separates the good spellers from the Bee winners.

The gym rat got the word right, so it must be paying off.

Meanwhile, Nabeel Rahman gets the ding of death, and he’s out. He’s got a year of eligibility left, though, so we’ll hear from him next year. He’s going to use this as motivation.

9:32 p.m.: Lily Jordan was just knocked out on “phanerogram.” Judging by her brothers in the background, who seemed to know the spelling, we may not have seen the last from the Jordan family at the Bee.

Sad to see the Maine native go.

9:29 p.m.: Veronica Penny sleeps with a dictionary under her pillow every night. Maybe it’s a good thing she likes to read self-help books?

She just connected on a Greek word, though, just beating the buzzer. As we found out earlier, she is one of the slowest spellers (Bee stats!), and she likes to take her time and think everything through.

Not good for any Spelling Bee beat writers who are on deadline.

9:25 p.m.: Newcombe has just crushed her two words of the night. For that, I have to think she’s in her spelling zone.

However, she’s Canadian. No Canadian has ever won the Bee. So while she may be on fire right now, the longer she goes, the heavier the weight of Canada on her shoulders will become.

That is certainly something to watch.

9:20 p.m.: Laura Newcombe knocks “attacca,” the night’s ugliest word, out of the park. They showed her sister in the crowd, a Scripps veteran herself. Who knew that spelling was genetic?

9:19 p.m.: Dr. Bailly, the guy who reads the words, is doing the whole World Series of Poker “get to know you better” video. And he just mentioned poker face. Too good.

Anyway, his monotone voice is the soundtrack to the Spelling Bee. For that, he’s apparently a “rock star” who signs autographs.

Not surprisingly, he sucks at hitting one of those ball-and-paddle things.

9:17 p.m.: Samuel Estep just had a misstep on bondieuserie, and he’s the first combatant eliminated. He also happened to be my pick. So, yeah, I’m sorry buddy.

Moving on to the ninth round! Down to 12. The tension is thick.

9:08 p.m.: We just saw Joanna Ye’s World Series of Poker-like video intro. She said she wants to be a neurosurgeon. Seems kind of like a waste of the ability to spell, but hey, more power to her.

Anyway, she nails “naphthalene.” They said she’s having more fun this year. You’ve got to enjoy the moment.

9:02 p.m.: Mean to touch on this earlier, but I think I saw Sage Steele grab the hand of ESPN’s “color commentator” during their intro.

He’s a Spelling Bee veteran. So, yeah, being in the Bee does have its benefits.

8:58 p.m.: There has to be a pawn shop somewhere with a Scripps trophy in it, right? There has to be.

I can’t wait to see that on Pawn Stars.

8:54 p.m.: “When I was 8 years old, Erin Andrews interviewed me while I was eating a cookie…”

Nope. Nothing.

8:53 p.m.: Dakota Jones just killed “andouille,” which is apparently some sort of food. Our second food word of the night. I’m now starving. I’m also 0-for-the evening in playing along.

In a related note, we have no misspellings yet. However, it’s all about how you finish, not how you start in the Bee. Unless you misspell a word early on. Then it is totally all about how you start.

8:47 p.m.: I caught Lily Jordan earlier on Thursday. During that time, the telecast mentioned knows Greek prefixes and suffixes very well. Why I was watching the Bee over lunch is neither here nor there.

Anyway, Jordan nails “Cassiopeian,” much to the delight of her 11-year-old twin brothers, who can barely contain their excitement. Seriously.

8:44 p.m.: OK, so we’re under way. I incorrectly assumed that the spellers were all American. They’re not. As we’ve seen already, there are a pair of Canadians. So now, as the ESPN announcers pointed out, we have a Canada-America thing going on. It’s like the Stanley Cup Final. Now, if only we can get Ryan Kesler to break down that dichotomy for us.

First word of the night was “rapprochement” which Laura Newcombe nailed.

Then, fellow Canuck Veronica Penny nailed “cioppino” like it was nothing. The Canadians have come to play, and they mean business.

Also, Penny said she likes to read self-help books for fun. So, uh, yeah. That’s cool.

We also just found out that no first-time winner has won since 2002. The Bee favors the veterans. Who knew?

8:30 p.m.: The contestants enter the, uh, stadium, and as they do so, they each give the trophy an embrace on their way by.

Not surprisingly, my official pick to win, No. 264 Samuel Estep, grabs the trophy and holds on a little longer than everyone else.

If that’s not foreshadowing for the 13-year-old, I don’t know what is.

7:30 p.m.: This is the night the country’s best young spellers have been waiting for — the finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

On Thursday night, 13 of the best spellers — 16 and under and/or haven’t passed eight grade yet — will compete for the No. 1 prize in competitive spelling.

These kids have run the treacherous spelling bee gauntlet and now await their chance to shine as the king or queen of the bee.

So what’s in it for the W-I-N-N-E-R? The champ gets $30,000 in cash, a trophy (with their name on it!), a $2,500 savings bond, a complete Merriam Webster reference library, a $5,000 scholarship (like they’ll need it), $2,600 in reference works from Britannica (not to mention a lifetime subscription to its online content!) and a Nook eReader. Oh, and a spot in spelling history.

Here are the combatants for the spelling battle royale.

No. 24 Laura Newcombe
No. 25 Veronica Penny
No. 29 Dhivya Senthil Murugan
No. 98 Lily Jordan
No. 141 Dakota Jones
No. 151 Nabeel Rahman
No. 152 Sririam Hathwar
No. 157 Arvind Mahankali
No. 168 Prakash Mishra
No. 206 Joanna Ye
No. 214 Sukanya Roy
No. 237 Mashad Arora
No. 264 Samuel Estep

Check back throughout the night for updates.

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