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Snigdha Nandipati, from San Diego, smiles after winning the 85th Scripps National Spelling Bee. She correctly spelled "guetapens," a French-derived word that means ambush, snare or trap.
A San Diego girl officially won the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday evening.
Snigdha Nandipati, 14, advanced to the semifinal round on Wednesday afternoon. She was the first competitor to spell during the finals at 5 p.m. Thursday evening.
By 6:35 p.m., she had defeated eight other top-notch spellers to take home the winning title.
Her winning word was “guetapens,” which Merriam-Webster defines as: ambush, snare, trap; A trick to him into some guetapens.
Snigdha is an 8th grade student at private institution Francis Parker School in Mission Valley. She also competed in last year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee and tied for 27th place. She was eliminated when she misspelled "kerystic."
Spelling isn’t Snigdha's only strong suit. According to her competitor bio, she also participates in the Science Olympiad, plays violin and speaks fluent Telugu.
The winner of the Scripps National Spelling Bee competition will be handsomely rewarded in cash and academic prizes. Scripps will give the champion $30,000 in cash. Merriam Webster will donate a $2,500 U.S. savings bond and complete reference library to the winner. A $5,000 scholarship will also be awarded by Sigma Phi Epsilon Educational Foundation, in addition to $2,600 worth of reference works by Encyclopaedia Britannica.
But that's not all! Middlebury Interactive Languages will also give the champ an online language course and a Nook.
Not to fear, the final seven spellers also get cash prizes, ranging from $1,500 to $12,500. Semifinalists get a $500 gift card and preliminary participants will receive a $100 gift card.
During Nandipati’s post-spelling bee victory celebration, a reporter asked her what it takes to be the best speller of them all.
The smiling teen – clearly overwhelmed and at a loss for words – replied, “Um…a lot."
Nandipati’s big win follows in the footsteps of another star speller from the San Diego area who dominated the Scripps National Spelling Bee several years ago.
Back in 2005, a local 13-year-old Poway boy named Anurag Kashyap won the competition. The champ later went on to win the Jeopardy! Teen Tournament.