Cherry Hill middle schooler wins Scripps National Spelling Bee in 8-way tie

Mike Dougherty
May 31, 2019 - 7:25 am

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — A Cherry Hill seventh grader took home $50,000 and a trophy for winning the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday night, but there was a surprise ending.

Eight of the competitors were crowned champions. That's never happened before. 

There are over 170,000 words in the English language, but the spelling bee organizers just couldn't come up with enough to stump these kids over about 12 hours of competition. 

Shruthika Padhy, 13, who goes to Rosa International Middle School in Cherry Hill, is one of the "octochamps." The word she spelled to win: aiguillette.

(It's the braided rope that hangs from the shoulder of a military or naval uniform.)

Another student, from North Jersey, was among the eight winners: Christopher Serrao, 13, of Whitehouse Station. His word: cernuous.

Each one of these kids made it through 20 rounds. And rather than splitting the cash prize, each one will get $50,000. And each one will get a trophy.

And, probably, the organizers will have to reevaluate their words for next year.