Breaking News
More () »

Largo teen wins National Spelling Bee, going out on top after up-and-down spelling career

The 14-year-old won a $50,000 cash prize after coming out on top.

OXON HILL, Md. — Soft-spoken but brimming with confidence, Dev Shah asked precise questions about obscure Greek roots, rushed through his second-to-last word and rolled to the Scripps National Spelling Bee title Thursday night.

Dev, a 14-year-old from Largo had his spelling career interrupted by the pandemic, then didn't make it out of his regional bee last year. He got through his highly competitive regional this year for his third and final try at the national title, and he ended up holding the trophy over his head as confetti fell.

His winning word was “psammophile,” a layup for a speller of his caliber.

“Psammo meaning sand, Greek?” he asked. “Phile, meaning love, Greek?”

He soaked up the moment by asking for the word to be used in a sentence, something he described a day earlier as a stalling tactic. Then he put his hands over his face as he was declared the winner.

Charlotte Walsh, a 14-year-old from Arlington, Virginia, was the runner-up.

Shah competed for the third time. Previously, the 8th grader from Morgan Fitzgerald Middle School competed in 2019 and tied for 51st place and again in 2021 in which he tied for 76th place. 

In Shah's "Meet the Sellers" bio, he said his hobbies include reading, playing tennis, playing the cello and solving math problems. The 8th grade student from Morgan Fitzgerald Middle School's favorite athlete is Roger Federer and he, too, has been sucked into the Wordle craze that swept the nation last year.

10 Tampa Bay's Jordan Highsmith contributed to this report.

Before You Leave, Check This Out