Marksman Becomes Spelling “Octo-Champ”

The 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee ended in an unprecedented eight-way tie, with Sohum Sukhatankar ’24 and seven other young spellers sharing the trophy. For three and a half hours, the eight finalists correctly spelled nearly four dozen words until, at the end of Round 20, they were all declared octo-champions. The tie is unprecedented in the 94-year history of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

“We are all so incredibly proud of Sohum,” said David Dini, Eugene McDermott Headmaster. “After several prior appearances with strong finishes, it is great to see him become one of the eight Co-Champions this year. Sohum is a bright and inquisitive young man, and he certainly has a passion for language and spelling. This is certainly a great honor for him, his family, and for St. Mark’s.”

Sohum secured his place among the top eight by correctly spelling pendeloque, a usually pear-shaped glass pendant used for ornamenting a lamp or chandelier. Sohum confidently listed the ten letters and let out a fist bump as he returned to his seat. At the conclusion of Round 20, the eight remaining spellers together hoisted the trophy. As the crowd applauded and confetti rained down, the ESPN commentator dubbed them the “Elite Eight.”

Sohum has earned a reputation for his orthographic skills over the years. This marked his third appearance at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, where he finished among the Top 30 in 2018 and among the Top 40 in 2017. Last year, he also earned the title of national champion at the South Asian Spelling Bee and won the Golden Chick Dallas Regional Spelling Bee.

Click here to watch an interview of Sohum by CBS 11 News.

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St. Mark’s School of Texas is a private, nonsectarian college-preparatory boys’ day school for students in grades 1 through 12, located in Dallas, Texas. St. Mark’s aims to prepare young men to assume leadership and responsibility in a competitive and changing world.

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