Clovis Unified’s Ananya Vinay wins Scripps National Spelling Bee

Rich Boehne, chairman, president and CEO of The E.W. Scripps Company, awards Ananya Vinay the engraved championship trophy. (Photo courtesy of Scripps National Spelling Bee)

Ananya Vinay of Fugman Elementary School was crowned champion of the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday, June 1 in National Harbor, Maryland.

The 12-year-old Vinay earned the title in Round 36 after correctly spelling the word “marocain,” defined as “a dress fabric that is made with a warp of silk or rayon and a filling of other yarns and is similar to but heavier than canton crepe.”

“As soon as I spelled the word, I realized [I had won],” Vinay said on the “Today Show.” “I was just standing there, I was so happy.”

Vinay tied in 172nd place in last year’s contest as a first-time competitor.

“I was a lot more prepared [this time around] and I just had a lot more confidence, so I just spelled my words,” Vinay told the “Today Show.”

As the champion, Vinay received a $40,000 cash prize and the Scripps National Spelling Bee engraved trophy, a Kindle e-reader Kindle, a $2,500 U.S. savings bond and a complete reference library from Merriam-Webster and $400 of reference works including a 1768 Encyclopædia Britannica Replica Set Deluxe Edition and a three-year membership to Britannica Online Premium from Encyclopædia Britannica. Premium.

“Ananya proved her depth of knowledge of root words and word origins to master round after round of some of the most challenging words in the English language,” Rich Boehne, chairman, president and CEO of The E.W. Scripps Company, said in a news release. “The entire week was an impressive showcase of talented students who have dedicated so much time and effort to this skill. They exude commitment and true grit. Scripps takes great pride in serving as steward of the nation’s largest and longest-running educational event.”

Vinay kicked off a media a media tour Friday with national media outlets and entertainment programs including “Good Morning America,” “Today Show,” Wall Street Journal, “Live with Kelly and Ryan,” CNN and “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” She also will visit Wall Street to be a guest of the New York Stock Exchange to ring the opening bell next week.

Rohan Rajeev of Edmond, Oklahoma finished as runner up and Mira Dedhia of Western Springs, Illinois placed third.

The competition began Tuesday with 291 spellers who advanced to the Scripps National Spelling Bee after beating the odds to reach this level. They are among the top 0.000026 percent of more than 11 million students who participated in spelling bees held in classrooms, schools and locally sponsored events around the country.

Round-by-round results are available at

Daniel Leon
A native of Woodlake, Daniel Leon is a recent graduate of Fresno State with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism. Daniel served as Sports Editor at The Collegian, Fresno State’s student-run newspaper, prior to joining the Roundup. Got a story idea? Email him at