The third time was the charm for 14-year-old Dev Shah from Florida as he walked away the champion of the 95th Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Eighth-grader Shah took home the trophy for spelling the word “psammophile” correctly, Reuters reported.
A psammophile, according to Merriam-Webster, is “an organism that prefers or thrives in sandy soils or areas.”
The Largo teen beat out Charlotte Walsh. The 14-year-old from Arlington, Virginia, misspelled “daviely,” a Scotch word for listlessly, in the 14th round, according to Reuters.
During the next to last round, Shah spelled “bathypitotmeter,” which is, according to Merriam-Webster, “an instrument designed to record the current velocity and water temperature at indicated depths below the surface of a sea or lake.” But the Morgan Fitzgerald Middle School student had to spell his last word in the next round correctly to win.
Psammophile won Shah the $50,000 first prize for himself, $2,000 in book money to be donated to a school that he chooses, $2,500 in cash and reference books from Merriam-Webster and $400 worth of reference material from Encyclopedia Britannica, CNN reported.
Shah had competed in the National Spelling Bee twice before, tying for 51st place in 2019 and tying for 76th in 2021.
He wasn’t alone in returning to the national spelling stage. The bee had 49 returning contestants this year and more than 180 who were there for the first time, CNN reported.
There were 94 girls, 134 boys, two people who identify as nonbinary and one who did not specify a gender, Reuters reported.