Scripps National Spelling Bee was broken Thursday night, brought to its knees by eight syllables that were too ready, too prepared and too experienced for every word thrown on their way.
Faced with a declining list of words and a spelling group that showed no weakness, Scripps gave up and declared them co-champions, the most extraordinary ending in the history of the 94-year competition.
The eight co-champions correctly entered the last 47 words in their historic victory, overcoming five consecutive perfect rounds.
"Spelling champions, we are now in uncharted territory," said the bee spokesman Jacques Bailly announcing the decision to allow up to eight winners. "We have a lot of words on our list, but soon we will have exhausted the words that could test you, the most phenomenal collection of super spellers in the history of this competition."
He wasn't lying. The bee held another three rounds later, and nobody lost a word or even seemed to be in trouble.
The winners, who nicknamed themselves "octo-champs", were: Rishik Gandhasri, Erin Howard, Saketh Sundar, Shruthika Padhy, Sohum Sukhatankar, Abhijay Kodali, Christopher Serrao and Rohan Raja.
From 2014-2016, the bee ended with the co-samples. In 2017 and last year, the bee had a written score test of spelling and vocabulary that would be used to identify a single sample, if necessary. It was not necessary, and bee officials decided that the test was too expensive and got rid of it.