San Diego eighth grader wins National Spelling Bee with "guetapens"

Thu May 31, 2012 11:09pm EDT
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By Ian Simpson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Snigdha Nandipati, a 14-year-old eighth grader from San Diego, won the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday by spelling "guetapens," a French word for ambush or trap.

"It's a miracle!" Nandipati, who reads encyclopedias for fun, said after winning the contest with her correct spelling.

Second place went to Stuti Mishra, a 14-year-old eighth grader from Orlando, Florida, who finished in second place after misspelling "schwarmerei," a German word for excessive enthusiasm.

Arvind Mahankali, a 12-year-old seventh grader from Bayside Hills, New York, finished third for a second year in a row after failing to spell "schwannoma," a kind of nerve cell tumor.

Asked what she would do with her $30,000 in prize money, Nandipati, who reads encyclopedias for fun, said: "I don't know, save it for college."

While spelling her winning word, Nandipati stood before the microphone with her hands clasped.

She spelled "admittatur," an admission certificate, "arrondissement," a French urban district, and "saccharolytic," referring to the breakdown of sugars in metabolism, on her way to the title.

Nandipati, whose grandparents flew to the contest from India, said she studied six hours a day during the week and 10 to 12 hours during the weekend.   Continued...

Snigdha Nandipati, 14, of San Diego, California, holds her trophy after winning the Scripps National Spelling Bee at National Harbor in Maryland May 31, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque