WASHINGTON — Stephanie Petit, 13, of Bethel Park, Pa., correctly spelled staphylococci today to win the 60th annual National Spelling Bee.
The eighth-grader defeated Rachel E. Nussbaum, 14, of Ithaca, N.Y., who was stumped on dyscalculi, starting to spell it "d-i-. . . ."
Stephanie corrected Rachel's error in the ninth and final round and then spelled the winning word.
Nine girls and six boys had survived the cut going into the final afternoon of competition.
The youngsters, culled from the largest-ever field of 185, sat nervously at the center of a large stage as the eighth round opened with the pronunciation of the 855th word of the bee.
Sixty-two youngsters fell out in four rounds Wednesday, and another 108 stumbled in two more rounds this morning.