Colorado Boy Wins National Spelling Bee

Pratyush Buddiga Spelled Prospicience To Capture Title

The word was "prospicience," meaning the act of looking forward, or foresight.

And after spelling that word correctly in the 75th Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee on Thursday, one 13-year-old Colorado Springs boy will have a lot to look foward to.

Pratyush Buddiga, survived 11 rounds, beat 249 other contestants, and ultimately won an engraved trophy and $12,000.

"I didn't think I really had a chance to win," he said. "I just wanted to be in the top five ... Since I'm a newcomer, I didn't really expect to win."

The Mountain Ridge Middle School student said that he would buy "a lot of Star Wars books" with some of the prize money.

A first-time competitor in the national bee, he went head-to-head in the final rounds with Steven Matthew Nalley, 14, of Starkville, Miss.

Nalley returned for his second try at the championship.

Ninety spellers began the day onstage, having survived an unprecedented 25-word written test Wednesday.

In the final day of competition, contestants successfully worked their way through "kakemono," "caulicolous," "stultiloquence," "culgee," "hermeneutics," "soavemente" and "toreutics," among others.

But finalists stumbled on these tough nuts: "throstle," "roriferous," "tiralee," "objicient" and "icteric," among others.

Colorado sent two spellers to the national competition in Washington after a gaffe at the state spelling bee in March.

Buddiga and Samira Kadam from Golden battled it out until Buddiga misspelled "paralogize." But before Kadam could get a chance to spell it and win the contest, the pronouncer inadvertently began to spell it.

When Kadam misspelled the alternate word and Buddiga spelled it correctly, he was named the winner.

After Kadam's father protested, judges decided on a compromise and sent both students.

Buddiga said that he's wanted to be in the national spelling bee since he was in third grade, when he saw how happy the 1997 winner, Rebecca Sealfon, appeared when she won the competition.

He said that he's studied at least an hour a day, every day, since the state competition to prepare for the championships. He told reporters his winning technique was to ask every question the judges allowed -- the definition of the word, alternate definition, alternate pronounciations, language of origin, use in a sentence -- before finally spelling the word.

Buddiga is Colorado's seventh national champion. Previous winners include Dana Bennett (1957), Joel Montgomery (1959), Katie Kerwin (1979), Jacques Bailly (1980), Molly Dieveney (1982) , and Scott Isaacs (1989).

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