She is the first champion from Louisiana and also the first African American winner, according to ESPN.
On Thursday night, the eighth grader from New Orleans won by spelling “murraya,” a citrus plant found in Asia, Australia, and Pacific islands. With a “that is correct” from the judge Mary Brooks, she leaped into the air and twirled as confetti fell over her.
She was up against the 12-year-old Chaitra Thummala from San Francisco. Chaitra managed to spell “fewtrils”— which means “things of little value” — correctly but stumbled at “neroli oil,” an essential oil with an orange scent, giving Zaila an opening to win.
Zaila is also an accomplished basketball player with three Guinness world records, including one for dribbling six balls simultaneously that she obtained in January and another for most bounce juggles with four basketballs in a minute.
The Scripps National Spelling Bee is an annual competition that has been held in the US since 1925.
Congratulations to Zaila! Queen.