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The final word of the Spelling Bee was...

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The final word of the Spelling Bee was...

From Comcast SportsNet
OXON HILL, Md. (AP) -- Snigdha Nandipati heard a few words she didn't know during the National Spelling Bee, but never when she stepped to the microphone. Calm and collected throughout, the 14-year-old from San Diego spelled "guetapens," a French-derived word that means ambush, snare or trap, to win the 85th Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday night. She beat out eight other finalists in the nerve-wracking, brain-busting competition. After she spelled the word, she looked from side to side, as if unsure her accomplishment was real, and, oddly, she was not immediately announced as the winner. Applause built slowly, and a few pieces of confetti trickled out before showering her. Then her 10-year-old brother ran on stage and embraced her, and she beamed. "I knew it. I'd seen it before," Nandipati said of the winning word. "I just wanted to ask everything I could before I started spelling." A coin collector and Sherlock Holmes fan, Nandipati aspires to become a physician or neurosurgeon. She also plays violin and is fluent in Telugu, a language spoken in southeastern India. A semifinalist last year, Nandipati became the fifth consecutive Indian-American winner and 10th in the last 14 years, a run that began in 1999 when Nupur Lala won and was later featured in the documentary "Spellbound." Wearing a white polo shirt with a gold necklace peeking out of the collar, the bespectacled, braces-wearing teen never showed much emotion while spelling, working her way meticulously through each word. Only a few of the words given to other spellers were unfamiliar to her, she said. Her brother and parents joined her onstage after the victory, along with her maternal grandparents, who traveled from Hyderabad, India, to watch her. At one point as she held the trophy aloft, her brother, Sujan, pushed the corners of her mouth apart to broaden her smile. Her father, Krishnarao, said Snigdha first showed an interest in spelling as early as age 4. As she rode in the car, he would call out the words he saw on billboards and she would spell them. In the run-up to the bee, Nandipanti studied 6 to 10 hours a day on weekdays and 10-12 hours on weekends -- a regimen that she'll need to maintain to get through medical school, her father said. "She says this is harder than being a neurosurgeon -- maybe," said her mother, Madhavi. Stuti Mishra of West Melbourne, Fla., finished second after misspelling "schwarmerei" -- which means excessive, unbridled enthusiasm. While many spellers pretend to write words with their fingers, the 14-year-old Mishra had an unusual routine -- she mimed typing them on a keyboard. Nandipanti and Mishra frequently high-fived each other after spelling words correctly during the marathon competition. Coming in third for the second consecutive year was Arvind Mahankali of Bayside Hills, N.Y. At 12, the seventh-grader was the youngest of the nine finalists. He has one more year of eligibility remaining, and he pledged to return. "I got eliminated both times by German words," Mahankali said. "I know what I have to study." Nandipati's prize haul includes 30,000 in cash, a trophy, a 2,500 savings bond, a 5,000 scholarship, 2,600 in reference works from the Encyclopedia Britannica and an online language course. The week began with 278 spellers, including the youngest in the history of the competition -- 6-year-old Lori Anne Madison of Lake Ridge, Va. The field was cut to 50 semifinalists after a computer test and two preliminary rounds, and Lori Anne was two misspelled words away from a semifinal berth. The tiny, blue-eyed prodigy said she'd be back next year. The highest-placing international speller was Gifton Wright of Spanish Town, Jamaica, who tied for fourth. This week, Scripps announced tentative plans for a world spelling bee with teams of spellers from dozens of countries. Once that gets off the ground, the National Spelling Bee would be closed to international participants. Also tied for fourth were Nicholas Rushlow of Pickerington, Ohio, and Lena Greenberg of Philadelphia. The excitable Greenberg, a crowd favorite who ran delightedly back to her chair after each correct word, pressed her hands to her face and exclaimed, "Oh! Oh!" when she was eliminated. Rushlow was making his fifth and final appearance in the bee, and this was his best showing. He got three words he didn't know -- one in the semifinals and two in the finals -- and managed to spell two of them correctly before the third one, "vetiver," tripped him up. While he was satisfied with his performance, he's sad that his run is over. "I'm a has-been now," Rushlow said.

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Five takeaways from the Redskins' devastating loss in New Orleans

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Five takeaways from the Redskins' devastating loss in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS—Here are my five main takeaways from the Redskins stunning overtime loss to the Saints

It’s everybody’s fault—When the game ended my Twitter timeline exploded with people venting and blaming the offense or the defense or the play calling or Kirk Cousins for the blowing the game. But it’s not as simple as pointing the finger at the third and one run that didn’t work or the grounding call on Cousins or the inability to get pressure on Drew Brees during the Saints’ final three drives. You don’t have enough fingers to point to everything that went wrong. When you blow a 15-point lead with six minutes left, it’s a total team collapse. It’s everyone.

Chris Thompson a huge lossHe’s not just the team’s leading rusher and leading receiver. Thompson is part of the heart and soul of the locker room. He’ll talk to anyone in the media any day and give thoughtful, intelligent answers. At age 27, Thompson is the “old man” in the running back room and the other backs looked to him for knowledge and as an example to follow. The Redskins have overcome a lot of injuries this year but this one might be the toughest to deal with.  

READ MORE: THIS REDSKINS LOSS LITERALLY DEFIED THE ODDS

No defense—It’s hard to figure out who on defense to blame for the Saints’ last two drives of regulation. It was just a Brees blitzkrieg. In the two drives, he was 11 for 11 for 164 yards and the two touchdowns. Without knowing the coverage calls it was hard to tell who was supposed to be covering the players who caught the ball because they weren’t anywhere near the receivers. There was virtually no pass rush and poor coverage. That turned out to be a fatal combination.

A good performance by Cousins—It’s hard for me to pin much of the blame here on Cousins, even though he is getting a lot of it. If you help put up 31 points and throw a touchdown pass that puts your team up by 15 points with just under six minutes to play, I think you’ve done your job. The grounding call we’ll discuss right here.

There should have been no penalty for intentional groundingWe can debate the audible call and whether Cousins should have thrown the ball all day. But that was not intentional grounding. That penalty requires that the passer be “facing an imminent loss of yardage due to pressure [and] throws a forward pass without a realistic chance of completion.” That’s from the rule book. Cousins was not facing an imminent loss of yardage; he took the snap and threw the ball immediately. The play does not fit the definition of the rule. I’m also confused by the 10-second runoff. It’s always been my understanding that the runoff was only enforced in situations where the penalty stops a moving clock. Jamison Crowder had gone out of bounds on the previous play so the clock was not running. I’m not positive that referee Walt Coleman blew that aspect of the call but he did make a mistake is throwing the grounding flag in the first place.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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How a simple miscommunication led to the Redskins' crushing intentional grounding mistake

How a simple miscommunication led to the Redskins' crushing intentional grounding mistake

Kirk Cousins and his coaching staff picked a really, really bad time to mix up their signals on Sunday vs. the Saints.

With less than a minute left and the Redskins on the edge of field goal range, Cousins dropped back to pass and lofted the ball to the right sideline. The problem was that the area wasn't occupied by any Redskins receivers.

So, after a brief conference, the refs decided to flag Washington's QB for intentional grounding, a penalty that effectively doomed their chances of kicking a game-winning field goal. New Orleans would, of course, go on to finish off the 'Skins in overtime.

Afterward, Cousins took to the podium inside of the Superdome to try and explain what went wrong on that sequence.

MORE: THE REDSKINS' LOSS ON SUNDAY LITERALLY DEFIED THE ODDS

"We had a run play called, and based on the defensive look they were giving, it was gonna be a tough run to get, and we were probably gonna get stuffed and have to clock it and hope for the best for the field goal," he said (his comments can be seen in the video above).

"I looked over to the sideline out of the corner of my eye and saw the coaches saying, 'Throw it,' and they wanted, potentially, an audible, get to an actual pass play," he continued. "I thought they were saying if you just throw it by Jamison [Crowder], in the general area of Jamison, there's an eligible [receiver] in the area and there's no penalty."

So, according to Cousins, the miscommunication wasn't between him and Crowder, which is what most assumed during the game. Crowder was simply going to block, which was his assignment for the run play that the offense originally went to the line with.

The issue actually occured between the passer and the sidelines, with Cousins not catching onto his coaches' desire for him to audible into a pass. That's the explanation he's giving, at least. And that late slip-up will unfortunately be what most remember from a day where No. 8 was mostly on-point.