Florida 12-Year-Old Bruhat Soma Triumphs at 2024 Scripps National Spelling Bee

Bruhat Soma, a seventh-grader from Tampa, Florida, won the 2024 Scripps National Spelling Bee in a dramatic spell-off — only the second to happen in the competition’s long-running history.

According to The New York Times, the 96th Scripps National Spelling Bee kicked off on Tuesday with a total of 245 contestants from across all 50 states. Contestants also traveled from the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Schools in Europe, the Bahamas, Canada, and Ghana.

Throughout six rounds of spelling and three vocabulary rounds posing contestants with multiple-choice questions, eight finalists emerged on Friday: Soma, 12; Rishabh Saha, 14, from Merced, Calif.; Shrey Parikh, 12, from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif; Aditi Muthukumar, 13, from Northglenn, Colo.; YY Liang, 12, from New Windsor, N.Y.; Ananya Rao Prassanna, 13, from Cary, N.C.; Faizan Zaki, 12, from Plano, Texas; and Kirsten Tiffany Santos, 13, from Katy, Texas.

Soma first competed at the national bee as a fifth-grader in 2022, where he tied for 163rd place, per The Times, and the following year he tied for 74th place before emerging victorious at this year’s competition.


In a spell-off showdown with Zaki, the two were given 90 seconds to spell as many of the announced words as possible. Although Zaki tallied an impressive total of 20 words, Soma clinched the win with 29 words.

To celebrate Soma’s win, confetti fell from the ceiling as he beamed and lifted the trophy up high. “This is the best part,” he said at a news conference. “I never expected this.”