Jacob Williamson Is Most Enthusiastic National Spelling Bee Contestant, Comes In 7th
Jacob Williamson stole the show at Thursday night’s Scripps National Spelling Bee, despite coming in seventh.
Jacob Williamson Celebrates Early
Williamson, 15, is an eighth grader who is homeschooled in Cape Coral, Florida, making this his last year of eligibility for the National Spelling Bee. Clearly overjoyed at making it to the final, televised round, Williamson spent the entire competition exploding with excitement and happiness every time he was at the microphone. His bubbly attitude quickly grabbed the attention of viewers and media as he made it to the final 12 and fell to his knees with joy.
Sadly, Williamson was eliminated in the tenth round when he misspelled ‘kabaragoya’ – an aquatic lizard. He thought the world was written ‘C-A-B-A-R-A-G-O-Y-A.’ What made the moment even more crushing for his fans was his confident declaration of “I know it!” when he was given his word.
“Ka-ba-ra-goya. I know it! I know it! I totally know it,” Williamson gleefully declared when given his word, causing roars of applause from the audience.
When he was eliminated, Williamson exclaimed a quick “What?!” before growing quiet. The crowd cheered for him, giving him a standing ovation as he left the stage. Many on Twitter were saddened by his elimination, but others found his over-confidence amusing.
— Justin Kirkland (@justinkirkland4) May 30, 2014
I wonder if Jacob knows how to spell HUBRIS #spellingbee
— diana (@dianarbol) May 30, 2014
After his elimination, Williamson spoke to reporters, saying he was simply thrilled to make it this far in the competition.
“It was a lot of fun. I thought I knew that word but I guess I didn’t…I am going to go home and remember it [the experience] always,” Williamson said.
His father, Dan Williamson, was equally thrilled.
“This was the best week of his life. So many times, kids that are academic don’t get their due…We deify the people who play with a ball and make $10 million a year and [often ignore] these kids that we need to be our future doctors and scientists. It’s an imbalance in our culture,” Dan Williamson told USA Today.
Despite his seventh place finish, Williamson has become the emerging star from this year’s National Spelling Bee. The earnest home-schooled student collects coins, and has been ever since he was four years old. He also has a dog, named Snickers and loves fantasy football.
— holly worthy (@hworthy) May 30, 2014
Scripps National Spelling Bee Tie
Williamson isn’t the only remarkable thing to come out of the 2014 National Spelling Bee. For the first time in 52 years, two students tied and both were declared winners. Sriram Hathwar, 14, and Ansun Sujoe, 13, tied for first place after a heated seven-round, head-to-head battle, beginning in round 16 after the third place contestant was eliminated. Both Hathwar and Sujoe misspelled their sixteenth word, still keeping them on equal footing, and they continued to remain equally talented at spelling for rounds 17 through 22, until the competition ran out of words.
After Hathwar correctly spelled his final word, ‘stichomythia,’ it was all down to Sujoe’s final challenge to see whether or not Hathwar would be declared the champion, or if the competition would result in a tie. For a moment, it seemed like Hathwar was going to walk away with the win when Sujoe couldn’t pronounce the word he was given, ‘feuilleton.’
“Whatever,” Sujoe said before spelling it correctly. When the confetti fell from the ceiling and Hathwar and Sujoe were declared winners, Hathwar seemed happy for his co-champion, going in to give him a hearty handshake. In contrast, Sujoe appeared completely shocked.
“[It] was really a competition against the dictionary, and not against Ansun or any of the other competitors,” Hathwar told CNN on Friday.
“It feels pretty good because not only do I get the victory, but I get to share it with someone else, so it means a lot to me,” Sujoe said.
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