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, after nailing the correct spelling for the word “moorhen” during a final tie-breaker round, the first in the bee’s 94-year history.
The wordsmith beat out 12-year-old Vikram Raju from Colorado, 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 this week for revealing his disappointment about being passed over for 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,” she 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 contenders had just 90 seconds to spell out as many words as they could. They each were given the same exact list of words. Raju was able to ace 15 of the words out of 19. That was seven words shy of Logan’s 22 correct out of 26 spelling attempts in the lightning round, in which 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.