Co-Champions Cap Off Underrated Scripps National Spelling Bee

Photo is courtesy of The Associated Press/ Written by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)

Edited by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)

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Just like most warm-blooded Americans out there, I am a fan of the big event. Whether it is the Super Bowl, World Series or Daytona 500, I am addicted. As much as I enjoy each of those events, one of my favorites is without a doubt the Scripps National Spelling Bee. I know that may shock a few of you, but for a competition that crowned co-champions just two days ago, the anticipation, raw emotion and determination has me locked in every year.


For the first time since 1962, the 89th Scripps National Spelling Bee awarded two different spellers the national title. Sriram Hathwar of Painted Post, New York & Ansun Sujoe of Fort Worth, Texas were honored as co-champions when both spellers made their way through all of the words allowed on the list of championship words.


A lone winner was almost crowned when Hathwar misspelled “corpsbruder”, but the 14 year-old Spelling Bee veteran found second life when the 13 year-old Sujoe was incorrect in his spelling of “antegropelos”. After their shared hiccup, neither young man missed another word as they both took home their own trophy and a combination of cash and prizes totaling over $33,000. Not bad for a couple of teenagers.


Some of you may be thinking that I have completely lost my mind and how could I possibly get excited over a spelling bee? Let me explain. In the world of athletics and competition that we live in today, some of us truly understand that practice makes perfect and hard work and determination will pay off in the end. For each of those boys and girls that compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee every year, there is a trail of hours upon hours of practice every day, real commitment to their sport and a laundry list of local, district and state competitions to help them reach that moment. It may not be considered a sport, but for the long hours and effort that they put into it, each speller sure views it as one.

As I watched the Scripps National Spelling Bee, I couldn’t help but get a kick out of the raw emotion and passion that Jacob Williamson showed after each word…. even after he misspelled “kabaragoya” and how cool as a cucumber Gokul Venkatachalam was as a 12 year-old as he made the final three. I enjoyed each of those moments, but in the world of egos that we get lost in, I think that crowning co-champions couldn’t have went better for these two young men.


Hathwar had competed in multiple Spelling Bees and always fell just short of the national prize, while Sujoe had never even reached the semi-finals and looked up to Hathwar as someone to learn from for his past success. The tournament favorite and the underdog went toe-to-toe and when it was all said and done, they celebrated with a handshake and a shared title that they will never forget.


Just like the Kentucky Derby and the Indy 500, I will never miss a Scripps National Spelling Bee. From witnessing the enthusiasm and passion to the determination and relief from each of these young people, the Scripps National Spelling Bee will always be that one event every year that perfectly highlights brain over brawn and what intelligence can do for you.


Also, a friendly reminder to join us on July 5th for the 2014 ‘Our Sports Report’ Wiffle Ball Summer Classic in lovely Fredericktown, Ohio. For more information on playing in or sponsoring the tournament, PLEASE CLICK HERE! Hope to see you on July 5th!