National Spelling Bee ends in tie for third consecutive year

13-year-old Jairam Hathwar and 11-year-old Nihar Janga crowned co-champions.

We have a tie. Again. The Scripps National Spelling Bee ended in a tie for the third consecutive year Thursday night, with 13-year-old Jairam Hathwar of Painted Post, New York and 11-year-old Nihar Janga of Austin, Texas emerging as co-champions out of a field of 284 spellers, after 39 epic rounds of competition.

National spelling bee ends in a tie for third consecutive year

It was a dramatic, knock-down drag-out face-off between two spelling bee gangstas. Jairam's final word in the competition was "feldenkrais," a trademark that refers to a system of aided body movements. Nihar stayed in the competition by correctly spelling "gesellschaft," which refers to a type of social relationship.

Twice, it looked like Jairam might be knocked out of the competition, after he misspelled "drahthaar," a breed of dog, and "mischsprache," a language. But Nihar missed his follow-up words, which put Jairam back in contention. Neither speller was going out like that. In the end, the spelling bee ran out of words.

Jairam and Nihar spelled them all.

Scripps actually altered the rules of the bee this year to avoid what ultimately ended up happening. They made it tougher, requiring the remaining two spellers to get through three times as many words as in years past. They really didn't want another year of co-champions. It didn't matter. Jairam and Nihar kicked too much ass.

The two champions will take home $40,000 in cash and other prizes.

At 11 years old, Nihar is the youngest winner of the bee on recrod. For Jaram, spelling badassness actually runs in the family. He is the younger brother of 2014 co-champion Sriram Hathwar.

The third place finish went to eighth grader Senhaa Kumar of Folsom, California.

Another year of badass drama, sweaty sportsmanship and words upon words that the rest of lowly mere mortals could never pronounce let alone spell. Leave that to the experts. Nerds reign. And let's face it, South Asians continue to hold a lock on this competition. Recognize, suckas.

Just another year at what Hari Kondabolu has dubbed "Indian Superbowl."

More here: Scripps National Spelling Bee crowns Nihar Janga, Jairam Hathwar co-champions


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