WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Most people could not spell "cymotrichous" with a dictionary, but a 14 year-old girl from Pennsylvania, Sukanya Roy, spelled the word on Thursday to win a marathon-length 2011 Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Roy, participating in the competition for the third time this year, won after 20 rounds in the final competition that went on until the late evening.
An eighth grader at Abington Heights Middle School, Roy traced the letters of each word on her hands, round by round, increasing her confidence, she said.
After winning, she was shaking with excitement.
"My heart started pounding, I guess. I couldn't believe it," Roy told an ESPN broadcaster immediately after receiving her trophy.
But she said she knew the word immediately.
"I just wanted to spell it right," Roy said. "I really didn't want to get it wrong."
Besides the trophy the superlative speller took home a $30,000 cash prize, a $2,500 U.S. savings bond, a complete reference library, a $5,000 scholarship, $2,600 in reference works and other prizes.
Roy is an outdoor enthusiast and a pianist. She has also competed in math competitions as well as Jeopardy! Kids Week.
A speaker of Bengali, Roy travels to India every summer to visit family and hopes to pursue a career in international relations.
The 275 spellers who started the bee on Wednesday included students from the United States and its territories, as well as the Bahamas, Canada, China, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.
The first National Spelling Bee was held in 1925 and since then has become one of the largest and well known educational competitions.
Last year's winner, Anamika Veeramani from Cleveland, Ohio, won by spelling "stromuhr" correctly.
Roy won over the favored Laura Newcombe who tied for fifth in last year's competition.
(Reporting by Wendell Marsh; Editing by Peter Bohan)