Harini Logan is the 2022 Scripps National Spelling Bee champion after winning its first-ever spell-off.
The 14-year-old eighth-grader from San Antonio, Texas, claimed the Spelling Bee champion title along with a Scripps Cup trophy and a check for $50,000.
Logan quickly and confidently spelled 21 out of 26 words correctly, winning against Vikram Raju, 12, in the Bee’s first spell-off. The format tested the contestants in a 90-second speed round and included words such as “ornithorhynchus,” “pyrrolidone,” “chorepiscopus” and “tauromachian.” Her final word was “moorhen,” which means “the female of the red grouse.”
“I think honestly so surreal, it’s my fourth time at the Bee,” Logan said on stage. “This is such a dream, this is my fourth bee and I’m just so overwhelmed.”
“At first I was a little uneasy and I decided to take it in stride,” she added. “I just had to take a deep breath and tell myself to go out there and do my best and whatever happens, happens.”
Logan’s victory came after she was briefly eliminated when judges initially rejected her definition for the word “pullulation.” She was then reinstated after the judges conferred during a break and decided that her answer was acceptable.
“Our 2022 Scripps National Spelling Bee Champion #Speller231 Harini Logan draws inspiration from VP @KamalaHarris,” the Scripps National Spelling Bee tweeted. “After tonight, Harini is inspiring a new generation of spellers everywhere. She says it takes a village to build up a speller. Hers is happy tonight.”
The Spelling Bee, which was launched in 1925, features elementary and middle school student contestants. The competition was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, causing a considerable stumble for the U.S.’ largest and longest-running educational program.
It returned last year with less than half of the usual contestants due to sponsors dropping out and the addition of programs that resulted in surprise eliminations. This year began with 234 contestants, while only 12 participated in Thursday’s final competition in Maryland.
The 2022 Scripps National Spelling Bee aired on ION and Bounce after almost three decades on ESPN, with Emmy and Grammy award-winning actor LeVar Burton as the host.