14-year-old from Florida crowned 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee champion after 15 rounds

14-year-old from Florida crowned 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee champion after 15 rounds

And the winner of the 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee is… Dev Shah!

The 14-year-old from Florida won the three-day event after correctly spelling the word “psammophile,” which is a plant or animal that prefers or thrives in sandy area, in the 15th round.

He won after fellow contestant 14-year-old Charlotte Walsh, from Virginia, misspelled “daviely,” in the 14th round.

Shah previously competed in the spelling bee, but lost each time. According to CNN he tied for 51st place in 2019, and in 2021 he tied for 76th place.

But 2023 was his year to shine. The middle school student from Largo, Florida confidently spelled “bathypitotmeter” in the 14th round, but according to the rules he had to spell another word correctly before he was declared the winner.

The teen described his win as “surreal.”

“I didn’t even let it settle in. My legs are still shaking,” he said moments after confetti rained down to celebrate his win.

NATIONAL HARBOR, MARYLAND – JUNE 01: Speller Dev Shah of Largo, Florida, is presented with a trophy by E. W. Scripps Company CEO Adam Symson, after he won the 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee at Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center on June 1, 2023 in National Harbor, Maryland. Shah correctly spelled the word “psammophile” and won the competition. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

His mother, who later joined him on stage to celebrate, commended her son for putting in “almost four years” and spending “at least 10 hours” studying for the spelling bee.

The prize package for winning the Scripps National Spelling Bee includes a $50,000 cash prize, plus $2,000 in donations to be given to the school of his choice, a $2,500 cash and reference book award from Merriam-Webster, and $400 worth of reference material from Encyclopedia Britannica.

Congratulations, Dev! What you accomplished is extremely difficult. You’ve got a bright future ahead of you.