A seven-letter word for a small aquatic bird stood between Texas teen Harini Logan and the title of National Spelling Bee champion.
Logan, 14, from San Antonio, won the 2022 Scripps National Spelling Bee and a $50,000 cash prize on Thursday in National Harbor, Maryland for nailing the correct spelling for the word “moorhen” during a final tie-breaker round, the first in the Spelling Bee’s 94-year history.
The wordsmith beat out 12-year-old Vikram Raju, from Denver who took home $25,000, in the tie breaking round. The duo beat out some of the world’s best spellers aged between 7 and 15 from across the globe.
The show was hosted by “The Roots” actor LeVar Burton, who made headlines for being disappointed about being passed up as the permanent host of “Jeopardy.”
Logan’s strategy? Tapping into her Zen amid the pressure of America watching.
“It was really just getting into that mindset where I could have that, just calmness where I could focus on the words rather than getting stressed out,’ Harini told “Good Morning America” after winning the coveted title.
“I was a little tense and it definitely was a bit difficult but I think I just decided to focus on the words and just plow through.”
The contender had just 90 seconds to spell out as many words as they could. They each were given the same exact list of words. Virkram was able to ace 15 of the words out of 19. It was just seven words shy of Logan’s 22 correct out of 26 spelling attempts in the lightning round where she sped through the spelling of words like phreatophyte, toquilla and excimer.
“It definitely takes a lot of dedication and commitment and like so much hard work, and at my house my mom is sort of my coach,” Logan told GMA. “It takes a lot of commitment … and, of course, a passion for the spelling bee.”
The hard work paid off when Logan’s family took the stage after their all-star was named the champion.
Logan’s next chapter? The ambitious eighth grader told “GMA” she wants to write a book.