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12-year-old Bruhat Soma wins prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee title in a tiebreaker

Bruhat Soma was unbeatable before he arrived at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, and neither the dictionary, nor his competitors, nor a lightning-round tiebreaker challenged him on the way to victory.

No Canadian spellers got into this year's finals

Twelve-year-old Bruhat Soma of Tampa, Fla., is presented with a trophy after winning the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Bruhat Soma was unbeatable before he arrived at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, and neither the dictionary, nor his competitors, nor a lightning-round tiebreaker challenged him on the way to victory.

Bruhat spelled 29 words correctly in the tiebreaker, beating Faizan Zaki by nine, to win the title on Thursday night. He receives a trophy and more than $50,000 in cash and prizes.

The 12-year-old seventh-grader from Tampa, Fla., had won three consecutive bees before arriving at a convention centre outside Washington for the most prestigious spelling competition in the English language.

The bee began with eight finalists, the fewest since 2010, and it was clear from the outset that Scripps was trying to fill the two-hour broadcast window on Ion, a network owned by the Cincinnati-based media company. There were frequent lengthy commercial breaks that allowed spellers to mill about at the side of the stage, chatting with their coaches, relatives and supporters.

Came down to 'spell-off'

And then bee officials announced it was time for the tiebreaker, known as a "spell-off," before Bruhat and Faizan were even given a chance to spell against each other in a conventional round.

A girl wearing glasses and a white and blue striped shirt holds her hand to her chest after and smiles after correctly spelling a word correctly during a spelling competition.

Bruhat went first, and after he got through 30 words, it appeared it would be impossible to beat. Faizan's pace was more uneven at the outset. He attempted 25 words but flubbed four of them.

Coming into the competition, Bruhat was undefeated in his last three spelling bees.

He won the Words of Wisdom bee hosted by Scott Remer, a former speller, coach and study guide author. He won the SpellPundit bee organized by that study guide company. And he won the first-ever online bee emceed by Dev Shah, last year's Scripps National Spelling Bee champion.

"He's competitive," Bruhat's coach, 16-year-old former speller Sam Evans, said before the finals. "I mean, he likes winning."

With his victory Thursday, Bruhat takes home more than $50,000 US in cash and prizes.

There were no Canadians in this year's finals — though both Duncan Grant of Sydney, N.S., and Isaac Brogan of Windsor, Ont., made it to the preliminaries, and Arshan Shahriar of Kitchener, Ont., made it as far as the quarterfinals.

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Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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