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Who is Harini Logan? Indian-origin teenager who won Spelling Bee in 1st-ever tiebreaker

Harini Logan, 14, a teenager of Indian origin, has won the Scripps National Spelling Bee 2022.

Who is Harini Logan? Indian-origin teenager who won Spelling Bee 2022 in 1st-ever tiebreaker snt
Maryland, First Published Jun 3, 2022, 10:44 AM IST

Indian-origin teenager Harini Logan is the 2022 Scripps National Spelling Bee champion in the competition's first-ever spell-off. The 14-year-old eighth-grade student from San Antonio, Texas, had competed in the last in-person Spelling Bee three years ago before the Covid-19 pandemic. Harini made a strong comeback and spelt 22 words correctly during a 90-second spell-off, beating Vikram by seven. 

Words in the final rounds included scyllarian, pyrrolidone, Otukian and Senijextee, etc. Harini earned the prestigious title when she correctly spelt "moorhen", defined as "the female of the red grouse." The Indian-origin teenager won more than 50,000 dollars in cash and prizes with this win.

Harini Logan is one of the best-known spellers entering the bee, and she was also a crowd favourite. She is the fifth Scripps champion to be coached by Grace Walters, a former speller, fellow Texan and student at Rice University who is considering bowing out of the coaching business. 

This was Harini's fourth time participating in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. She placed 31st in 2021, 30th in 2019 and 323rd in 2018. Harini, an 8th grader at The Montessori School of San Antonio, was sponsored by Brauntex Performing Arts Theatre Association.

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Scripps brought back the word meaning round, which claimed five spellers, including Kirsten Santos, 11, of Texas, one of the youngest finalists and a speller competing at Scripps for the first time. After the word meaning round, only three spellers were left. Still, the judges reinstated Harini after concluding that her definition of the word pullulation could be construed as correct.

"We did a little sleuthing after you finished, which is what our job is, to make sure we've made the right decision," head judge Mary Brooks said to Harini. "We (did) a little deep dive in that word, and actually the answer you gave to that word is considered correct, so we're going to reinstate you."

Harini Logan draws inspiration from Vice President Kamala Harris, another Indian-origin icon in the United States. According to Scripps, Harini is inspiring a new generation of spellers everywhere. "She says it takes a village to build up a speller. Hers is happy tonight," wrote Scripps.

Adam Symson, president and CEO of The EW Scripps Company, presented her with the 94th Scripps National Spelling Bee championship trophy.

"Harini displayed impressive focus and determination throughout the competition all the way up to her thrilling win," Symson said. "It's exactly why the Scripps National Spelling Bee is a piece of American culture beloved by millions around the world. We get to know these spellers and their stories, and we love rooting them along with each turn at the microphone.

"Congratulations to Harini and to all of the national competitors this year. Scripps is proud to tell your stories."

Last year, a 14-year-old, Zaila Avant-garde, made history as the first Black American to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee. 

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