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The National Spelling Bee Had An Unprecedented Eight Winners

Can you bee-lieve it?

Last updated on May 31, 2019, at 12:26 a.m. ET

Posted on May 31, 2019, at 12:14 a.m. ET

Patrick Semansky / AP

Eight kids tied to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday, an unprecedented ending in the 92 years of the contest.

For more than three and a half hours, spellers ages 12 to 14 proved they could handle almost everything the competition threw their way, confidently tracing letters on their palms and correctly identifying foreign-language roots. Thursday’s finals were the fourth day of the bee, which drew 562 spellers from all 50 states.

From that talented field, 16 kids took the finals stage at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Maryland, many of them with experience in previous years’ bees. After 20 rounds, eight remained and were named cochampions; spelling bee officials said they’d run out of words.

The winners are Rishik Gandhasri, Erin Howard, Saketh Sundar, Shruthika Padhy, Sohum Sukhatankar, Abhijay Kodali, Christopher Serrao, and Rohan Raja.

First place in the spelling bee wins a $50,000 cash prize as well as reference books and a $2,500 savings bond. In several recent years, two competitors tied for first place and each took home the prize money.

The official National Spelling Bee account on Thursday said it was ready to pass out the checks:

Actual footage from the near future. #spellingbee

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.