Nihar Janga, a fifth-grader from Austin, Texas, and Jairam Hathwar, a seventh-grader from Painted Post, New York, were named co-champions of the Scripps National Spelling Bee after it ended in a tie for the third consecutive year Thursday night. Nihar, at the age of 11, is the youngest winner of the competition on record.
The bee was made tougher by Scripps after two consecutive ties, forcing the last two spellers to get through three times as many words as in the past years.
Jairam and Nihar ended co-winners when the former got "feldenkrais" — a method of education, and the latter nailed "gesellschaft," a type of social relationship. The two winners will each receive $45,000 cash and prizes.
"I'm just speechless. I can't say anything," Nihar said as he hoisted the trophy. "I mean, I'm only in fifth grade!"
The other words the two got right included Kjeldahl, Hohenzollern, juamave, groenedael, zindiq and euchologion.
"It was insane," Jairam, 13, who is the younger brother of the 2014 co-champion, Sriram Hathwar, said about the competition.