Harini Logan was eliminated from the Scripps National Spelling Bee once, then reinstated. She missed four words in a gruelling standoff against Vikram Raju, including one that would have given her the title. In the first-ever lightning-round tiebreaker, Harini finally claimed the trophy. The 13-year-old eighth-grader from San Antonio, Texas, who competed in the last fully in-person bee three years ago and endured the pandemic to make it back, spelt 21 words correctly during a 90-second spell-off, beating Vikram by six.
Harini, one of the best-known spellers entering the bee and a crowd favourite for her poise and positivity, wins more than $50,000 in cash and prizes. 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. If so, she will depart on top.