Eighth grader Sukanya Roy became the 2011 Scripps Spelling Bee Champion Thursday, taking home the trophy and more than $40,000 in prizes. The Associated Press reports the Abington Township, Penn., 14-year-old is the fourth Indian-American in a row to win the spelling bee. “Cymotrichous” was the word that won her the competition, meaning something that relates to wavy hair.
The spelling bee’s five finalists ran past the broadcasting time allotted by ESPN, defying elimination. At one point, there was a 21-word streak of correctly spelled words. 12-year-old Laura Newcombe of Toronto was the runner-up. She fell to “sorities,” leaving Roy as the last speller standing.
Here’s a look at past Scripps Spelling Bee winners and their winning words:
* 2010 winner Anamika Veeramani, 14, Ohio, won with the word “stromuhr,” a medical instrument used to measure the amount and speed of blood flow through the artery.
* Last year’s final round was surrounded in controversy, as too many spellers were eliminated in the sixth round, according to NPR. If more were eliminated, that would not have left enough kids to fill the broadcast hours of the final round. So the competition was stopped and, per the rules, anyone who had not spelled yet was advanced along with the correct spellers to the finals.
* In 2009, 13-year-old Kavya Shivashankar of Kansas correctly spelled “Laodicean” to win. The word means lukewarm or indifferent in religion and politics.
* In 2008, Sameer Mishra, 13, of Lafayette, Ind., won on “guerdon,” meaning “a reward.”
* In 2007, 13-year-old Evan M. O’Dorney of California correctly spelled “serrefine” to win. Serrefine means small forceps. The home-schooled eighth grader admitted that spelling wasn’t his favorite subject; he much preferred math and music, according to AP.
* In 2006, Katharine (Kerry) Close of Asbury Park, N.J., aced “Ursprache” to win the national spelling bee. The definition of Ursprache is a reconstructed, hypothetical parent language.
* In 2005, eighth grader Anurag Kashyap, 13, of California won the Scripps National Spelling Bee. His winning word was “appoggiatura” — a melodic tone.
* Kashyap went on to win “Jeopardy” in 2008. He said he was more nervous during the spelling competition, having spent more time preparing, reports KFMB.
* In 2004, David Scott Pilarski Tidmarsh of South Bend, Ind., spelled out “autochthonous” to win the trophy and prizes. Autochthonous is something that is native or indigenous, especially referring to plants and animals.
* In 1998, 13-year-old Jody-Anne Maxwell from Kingston, Jamaica, became the first non-U.S. competitor to win the Scripps Spelling Bee. Her winning word was “chiaroscurist,” meaning an artist who specializes in the treatment of light and dark parts to form a pictorial.
* In 1985, Balu Natarajan of Chicago spelled “milieu” for the win. A milieu is surroundings of a social or cultural nature.
* In 1961, John Capehart of Oklahoma won with “smaragdine.” A smaragdine relates to emeralds or having the color of emeralds.
* 1946 saw the first live broadcast of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Iowa’s John McKinney won with “semaphore,” defined as visual signaling apparatus using flags, lights or moving arms.
* “Gladiolus” was the winning word of the first Scripps spelling bee in 1925. Spelled correctly by winner Frank Neuhauser of Louisville, Ky., the a gladiolus is a plant in the iris family. The Washington Post reports Neuhauser passed away on March 11, 2011, at age 97.