Spelling bee champ Snigdha Nandipati studied up to 12 hours a day
For Snigdha Nandipati, winning the 85th Scripps National Spelling Bee came down to the word "guetapens," which means an ambush, snare or trap.
"I knew it. I'd seen it before," Snigdha, of San Diego, told the Associated Press. "I just wanted to ask everything I could before I started spelling."
Snigdha, an eighth-grader at Francis Parker School in La Jolla, bested eight other finalists Thursday for the title in the contest held in Oxon Hill, Md., just outside Washington.
Her grandfather had reportedly promised her a trip to India if she won.
Family members said she had shown an interest in spelling from an early age and studied up to 12 hours on weekends and up to 10 hours on weekdays.
"She says this is harder than being a neurosurgeon — maybe," said her mother, Madhavi, told the AP.
She was a semifinalist at the bee last year.
The victory was being celebrated at her school and beyond in San Diego.
“We were excited,” said Dan Lang, a former teacher told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Although it is an individual event for her, it is so nice for all of us to share in her success.”
Snigdha maintained her perspective throughout the bee.
“I wanted to take all my time and absorb all of the information before I started spelling,” she said told the Union-Tribune.
--Tony Perry in San Diego and Shelby Grad