OXON HILL, Md. - It's what makes the spelling bee such gripping drama. Five competitors were left.
They correctly rolled off 21 words in a row. Hard ones, like "abhinaya" and "capoeira" and "cheongsam" and "opodeldoc." It was past bedtime, and long past the time slot that had been allotted by ESPN.
But it turned out that not all five had memorized the entire dictionary. Eventually, four heard the telltale bell of elimination, leaving eighth-grader Sukanya Roy, 14, of South Abington Township, Pa., in Lackawanna County, to take home the trophy and the more than $40,000 in cash and prizes Thursday at the 84th Scripps National Spelling Bee in Maryland.
"I went through the dictionary once or twice," said Sukanya, who tied for 12th in 2009 and 20th in 2010, "and I guess some of the words really stuck."
Sukanya's winning word was "cymotrichous," which relates to wavy hair. She likes hiking, rock climbing and ice skating, wants to travel and perhaps pursue a career in international relations. She is the fourth consecutive Indian-American to win the bee and the ninth in the last 13 years, a run that began when Nupur Lala captured the crown in 1999 and was later featured in the documentary "Spellbound."