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People Are Upset About The Spelling Bee Crowning 8 Champions

The winners of the Spelling Bee this year.

NATIONAL HARBOR, MARYLAND - MAY 31: Co-champions Sohum Sukhatankar (L) of Dallas, Texas, Abhijay Kodali (2nd L) of Flower Mound, Texas, Saketh Sundar (3rd L) of Clarksville, Maryland, and Rishik Gandhasri (R) of San Jose, California, celebrate as confetti drops after 20 rounds of competition and won the championship of the Scripps National Spelling Bee at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center May 31, 2019 in National Harbor, Maryland. The winning spellers made history with eight co-champions, the most number in the spelling event history.(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The Scripps National Spelling Bee ended in surprising and somewhat controversial fashion on Thursday when a record eight kids were named co-champions of the tournament.

The tournament co-winners, who decided to dub themselves "octo-champs" were Rishik Gandhasri, Erin Howard, Saketh Sundar, Shruthika Padhy, Sohum Sukhatankar, Abhijay Kodali, Christopher Serrao and Rohan Raja.

Per ESPN, the eight champions initially wanted to split the first and second-place prize money, but the tournament organizers instead decided to give them all a $50,000 prize and a Scripps trophy.

The surprising finish to the tournament was not completely free of controversy though. Per ESPN, Rahul Walia, the founder of the South Asian Spelling Bee, protested the competition's refusal to keep going with harder words.

"This would never happen at my bee... They need to use harder words. The words are available.''

Bee pronouncer Jacques Bailly noted heading into the final round that the tournament was in "uncharted territory" with so many contestants still active heading into the 20th and final round.

Bailly congratulated the eight contestants and proclaimed that the book of words would soon run out of words that might challenge them - hence the controversy. Some believe there needs to be a way to determine a single champion:

It's certainly a strange way to end a tournament of that magnitude, but sometimes there are players that are truly so evenly matched that having them continue to compete would be a waste of time.