May 31, 2024 - News

Our Spelling Bee contestants

Choropleth map showing the number of 2024 National Spelling Bee participants by state. This map does not include participants from U.S. territories, except Washington, D.C. The average state had 4.6 participants. Texas has the most, with 20. 18 states have only one participant.
Data: Scripps National Spelling Bee. Map: Axios Visuals

California had the second-highest number of participants in this year's Scripps National Spelling Bee.

State of play: 17 Californians repped us in the 96th Spelling Bee championship, with two making it to last night's finals.

  • 12-year-old Bruhat Soma from St. Petersburg, Florida, took home the victory after correctly spelling 29 words in a 90-second lightning round — nine more than runner-up Faizan Zaki of Dallas, Texas.
  • Soma's winning word: "abseil," a verb that refers to descending via rappelling.

The big picture: California has had six champions since the spelling bee's start in 1925, when nine newspapers partnered up to host it.

  • Our most recent winner, Rishik Gandhasri, hailed from San Francisco and took home the trophy in 2019.

Kudos to all the participants!

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