The last of five Minnesotans, a 13-year-old Edina middle school student, fell out of the running Thursday in the semifinals of the 70th Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.
Mark Kivimaki, a seventh-grader at Valley View Middle School, and 45 other spellers faced off in the morning at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md., with the event being televised on ESPN3.
Kivimaki correctly spelled his Round 5 word, “ebullition,” defined as a state of bubbling up or boiling. Kivimaki then stumbled when he misspelled “ananke,” which means “personification of ultimate fate that gods must yield to.”
Minnesotans eliminated earlier were Shane DeSilva, an eighth-grader at Pacelli Catholic School in Austin, and Lauren Crabtree, an eighth-grader at Forestview Middle School in Brainerd, Alyssa Boynton, a seventh-grader at Murray County Central School in Slayton; and Kellen Rufus Rodriguez, an eighth-grader at Fairmont High School.
For the first time in more than 50 years two winners were declared Thursday night after a five-round duel in which neither could miss a word. In the end, Sriram Hathwar of Painted Post, N.Y., and Ansun Sujoe of Fort Worth, Texas, shared the prize.
It was just the fourth time in the bee’s history that winners shared the title. Others were in 1950, 1957 and 1962.
This year’s spellers converged from around the United States and its territories, as well as seven other countries: the Bahamas, Canada, China, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan and South Korea.
Within the U.S., all 50 states were represented, along with competitors from the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Department of Defense Schools in Europe.
The National Spelling Bee started in 1925 with nine contestants. Minnesota has had one national champion, Sean Conley of Shakopee, in 2001.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.