Anson Cook, of Bethesda, competes in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Credit: Mark Bowen/Scripps National Spelling Bee

After making it to the final rounds of this year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee for the second consecutive year, a local 12-year-old was eliminated from the competition Thursday.

Anson Cook, an 8th-grader at Cabin John Middle School in Potomac, incorrectly spelled “ergodic,” a word relating to mathematical probability, early in Thursday’s final championship rounds.

After 20 rounds, eight spellers – including Saketh Sundar from Clarksville in Howard County – were named co-champions. The eight champions will each receive a $50,000 cash prize and a trophy.

In the third hour of competition, Bee leaders announced they were running out of words that would likely challenge the spellers, and anyone remaining at the end of the 20th round would be crowned co-champion, the first time the Bee has named more than one winner in a single year.

Cook was one of more than 11 million students from across the country who competed for a spot spelling on the national stage, and was among the 565 who were selected as finalists for the weeklong competition in Washington, D.C.

Anson, of Potomac, competed in last year’s national bee, tying for 34th place.


Other county students who participated in the bee, but did not advance to the final round were: Ananya Gautam, 12, Herbert Hoover Middle School; Jiming Chen, 13, Takoma Park Middle School; and Isabelle Reinecke, 12, who attends The Potomac School in Virginia and lives in Bethesda.

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at