Scripps spelling bee champs-2016

Can you spell Sesquipedalian?

These two could, and neither missed a word during 39 rounds, remaining cool under the pressure of a packed house and national television audience to become co-champions at the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee Thursday.

It was a marathon finish for 13-year-old Jairam Hathwar, who correctly spelled ‘Feldenkrais’ (a medical term for certain body movements) and 11-year-old Nihar Janga, the youngest ever to win the champion title, who immediately followed by spelling ‘gesellschaft’ (a mechanical social relationship). With these correct spellings, the boys from Painted Post, New York and Austin, Texas were crowned co-champions–the third year in a row the contest has ended in a tie.

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The final two words were the crowning achievement of an impressive performance. Hathwar and Janga tackled every difficult word, lasting through 39 rounds, including 24 nail-biting head-to-head rounds.

This was Hathwar’s second appearance in the National Finals, having tied for 22nd place in 2015. His brother Sriram Hathwar was a co-champion in 2014.

The two 2016 winners were each awarded an engraved championship trophy, along with a $40,000 cash prize.

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“Hathwar and Janga both proved their depth of knowledge of root words and word origins to master round after round of some of the most challenging words in the English language,” said Boehne.

The competition began Tuesday with 285 spellers who advanced to the Scripps National Spelling Bee after beating the odds to reach this level. They are among the top 0.000026 percent of the more than 11 million students who initially participated in spelling bees held in classrooms, schools and locally sponsored events around the country.

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