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Florida 7th grader wins 2024 Scripps National Spelling Bee after dramatic 'spell-off'

With 245 competitors, this was the largest field of spellers since the 2019 Bee.
Scripps National Spelling Bee 2024 winner Bruhat Soma
Spelling Bee winner Bruhat Soma
Posted at 7:20 PM, May 30, 2024

Bruhat Soma is the 2024 Scripps National Spelling Bee champion after a dramatic tiebreaker between the two top spellers in the event.

The 12-year-old was crowned Thursday night after correctly spelling 29 words in 90 seconds in what’s known as a “spell-off.”

He beat Faizan Zaki, who spelled 20 words in 90 seconds.

Bruat said he prepared just in case he found himself in a spell-off.

"Well, I was pretty nervous, but like I knew I've been practicing the spell-off for like the whole past year, maybe like six months at least," he said.

This is the second time the winner of the Bee was determined by a spell-off. Harini Logan won the 2022 Scripps National Spelling Bee in the same fashion.

Bruhat is a seventh-grade student at Turner/Bartels K-8 School in St. Petersburg, Florida.

He previously competed in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2022 and tied for 163rd place. Bruhat returned in 2023 and tied for 74th place.

"It's been really exciting," Bruhat said. "Once I entered Bee Week, I was like, 'I have to win this, there's no other option. Like, I really have to win this' — and now I'm so happy that it's happened!"

The seventh-grader has a lot of interests beyond spelling, including playing basketball and badminton.

Faizan, 12, is a sixth-grade student at Rice Middle School in Dallas.

He previously competed in the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee and tied for 370th. He returned in 2023 and tied for 21st place.

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With 245 competitors, this was the largest field of spellers since the 2019 Bee. They ranged in age from 8 to 15 years old.

The Bee, which takes place in National Harbor, Maryland, had spellers representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia. There were also 12 spellers representing the Bahamas, Canada, Germany, Ghana, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

All spellers walked away with the experience of a lifetime, but the winner is also taking home $50,000 in cash, a commemorative medal and the famous Scripps Cup, along with numerous other prizes.

Scripps News is a subsidiary of the E.W. Scripps Company, which runs the Bee on a not-for-profit basis.