The Edmond native would have been the first Oklahoman victor since 1965.
For Rohan, a 14-year-old from Edmond, Oklahoma, it was his first time on the national stage. In 2016, Vinay, a natural speller and an avid reader, had volunteered for the Fresno Community Food Bank where she and her friends organised a food drive for Thanksgiving. "I just focused on my word and tried to spell it right", said Ananya upon receiving the winner's trophy.
After three straight years of ties, the bee added a tiebreaker test this year, and it looked like it might come into play as Ananya and Rohan duelled for almost 20 rounds.
But the fake word puzzled the girl, who gamely followed Spelling Bee protocol.
"Covfefe", she said. "C-o-f-e-f-e, covfefe". Katie Johnson said she wanted to thank The Enterprise and the St. Mary's public school officials for sponsoring her daughter and helping her get to the national level.
That's what one proficient speller tasted during the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee on June 1.
They looked confident as they spelled their words through the night until Rohan looked down, shaking his head.
Ananya was crowned the victor of the 90th instance of the erudite tournament after she spelled 35 words correctly.
Think you can do better than these kids? She placed 11th in the competition. "Definition, please", she asked with a big smile. "And reading, of course". As the rest of her family joined her, the new champ finally let her happiness show. It was not long, however, before she was foiled by the word saccharomycete, a yeast fungus, and fell out of the competition.
"What?!" exclaimed Maggie Sheridan, 13, from Mansfield, Ohio, throwing her hands up in disbelief when she learned she correctly spelled whirlicote, a type of luxurious carriage, with one second to spare. She's a sixth grader at Clovis Unified's Fugman Elementary outside of Fresno. Erin Welch survived round three but her mother, Sophie Welsh, said her daughter didn't make the finals "but this has been a great experience beyond the words". "I am grateful to Young Educators Foundation for this opportunity". "I've been competing in spelling bees since the fourth grade".
Sreeniketh Vogoti was considered a top contender after finishing seventh past year, but he failed to spell clafouti correctly and ended up in 14th place.