Fifteen months ago, Dev Shah spent a miserable five hours spelling outdoors in chilly, windy, damp conditions at a supersize regional competition in Orlando, Florida, only to fall short of his dream of returning to the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
“Despondent is the right word,” Dev said. “I just didn’t know if I wanted to keep continuing.” Look at him now.
Soft-spoken but brimming with confidence, Dev asked precise questions about obscure Greek roots, rushed through his second-to-last word and rolled to the National Spelling Bee title Thursday night. Dev's winning word was “psammophile,” a layup for a speller of his caliber.