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14-year-old Zaila Avant-garde wins Scripps National Spelling Bee

The Harvey, Louisiana native becomes the first African-American winner of the competition, but her hoops handles are just as impressive!

The 11 finalists of the Scripps National Spelling Bee sit on stage as the Finals begins, during a visit by US First Lady Jill Biden, in Orlando, Florida on July 8, 2021. Photo by JIM WATSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

When it came to the difficulty of the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee, the winner must not have thought the hard stuff was coming down for awhile. But 14-year-old Zalia Avant-Garde invoked one of America’s most beloved comedians to help her piece together the correct letters to win the competition, and it might not even be her most impressive feat to date as a human.

Finishing with the word “murraya’ (a genus of tropical Asiatic and Australian trees having pinnate leaves and flowers with imbricated petals), Avant-garde asked the obvious question of Caddyshack and Ghostbusters fans across the world. “Does this word contain like the English word Murray, which could be the name of a comedian, or just an English name in general?”

While the judges didn’t give her much help with the answer, it was a chance for those watching to get in some Carl Spackler references.

But the real story here is Avant-garde is already the holder of three Guiness World Records already for dribbling basketballs in various capacities, and hopes to play in the WNBA someday while clearly having the skills to do so.

So just your typical high school freshman with crazy handles and the ability to win one of America’s most prized intellectual competitions. Also I did the New York Times crossword in under half an hour, so it was big day over here too.

A huge congratulations to Zaila, and somehow we don’t think this will be the last we hear from her, as the Girl Power is almost unbelievable in this one.