N.Y. teen Arvind Mahankali wins the national spelling bee with ‘knaidel’

  • Arvind Mahankali, 13, of Bayside Hills, N.Y., holds the championship trophy after he won the National Spelling Bee by spelling the word "knaidel" correctly on Thursday, May 30, 2013, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)Arvind Mahankali, 13, of Bayside Hills, N.Y., holds the championship trophy after he won the National Spelling Bee by spelling the word "knaidel" correctly on Thursday, May 30, 2013, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
  • Janice Liebenberg, National Spelling Bee Sponsorship and Operations Coordinator, holds the finalist medals before the announcement of National Spelling Bee finalists on Thursday, May 30, 2013, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)Janice Liebenberg, National Spelling Bee Sponsorship and Operations Coordinator, holds the finalist medals before the announcement of National Spelling Bee finalists on Thursday, May 30, 2013, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
  • Sriram Hathwar, 13 of Painted Post, N.Y., left, reaches out to shake hands with Syamantak Payra, 12, of Friendswood, Texas, right, as he high-fives Vismaya Kharkar, 14, of Bountiful, Utah, as Chetan Reddy, 13 of Plano, Texas, yellow shirt, and Arvind Mahankali, 13, of Bayside Hills, N.Y., center, watch after they learned that they will advance to the final round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)Sriram Hathwar, 13 of Painted Post, N.Y., left, reaches out to shake hands with Syamantak Payra, 12, of Friendswood, Texas, right, as he high-fives Vismaya Kharkar, 14, of Bountiful, Utah, as Chetan Reddy, 13 of Plano, Texas, yellow shirt, and Arvind Mahankali, 13, of Bayside Hills, N.Y., center, watch after they learned that they will advance to the final round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
  • Vismaya Kharkar, 14, of Bountiful, Utah, reacts after spelling the word "agelicism" correctly during the semifinal round of the National Spelling Bee on Thursday, May 30, 2013, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)Vismaya Kharkar, 14, of Bountiful, Utah, reacts after spelling the word "agelicism" correctly during the semifinal round of the National Spelling Bee on Thursday, May 30, 2013, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
  • Vismaya Kharkar, 14, of Bountiful, Utah, celebrates after learning that she made the finals of the National Spelling Bee on Thursday, May 30, 2013, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)Vismaya Kharkar, 14, of Bountiful, Utah, celebrates after learning that she made the finals of the National Spelling Bee on Thursday, May 30, 2013, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
  • Vismaya Kharkar, 14, of Bountiful, Utah, left, is congratulated by Amber Born, 14 of Marblehead, Mass., after spelling the word "agelicism" correctly during the semifinal round of the National Spelling Bee on Thursday, May 30, 2013, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)Vismaya Kharkar, 14, of Bountiful, Utah, left, is congratulated by Amber Born, 14 of Marblehead, Mass., after spelling the word "agelicism" correctly during the semifinal round of the National Spelling Bee on Thursday, May 30, 2013, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
  • Vismaya Kharkar, 14, of Bountiful, Utah blows a kiss to her family during a break in the semifinal round of the National Spelling Bee, Thursday, May 30, 2013, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) Vismaya Kharkar, 14, of Bountiful, Utah blows a kiss to her family during a break in the semifinal round of the National Spelling Bee, Thursday, May 30, 2013, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
  • Jonathan Caldwell, 13, of Hendersonville, Tenn., reacts after spelling the word "persiflage" correctly during the semifinal round of the National Spelling Bee, Thursday, May 30, 2013, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)Jonathan Caldwell, 13, of Hendersonville, Tenn., reacts after spelling the word "persiflage" correctly during the semifinal round of the National Spelling Bee, Thursday, May 30, 2013, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
  • Jonathan Caldwell, 13, of Hendersonville, Tenn., shrugs his shoulders after getting the word "pergameneous" incorrect during the semifinal round of the National Spelling Bee on Thursday, May 30, 2013, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)Jonathan Caldwell, 13, of Hendersonville, Tenn., shrugs his shoulders after getting the word "pergameneous" incorrect during the semifinal round of the National Spelling Bee on Thursday, May 30, 2013, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
  • Jonathan Caldwell, 13, of Hendersonville, Tenn., waits for his turn during the semifinal round of the National Spelling Bee on Thursday, May 30, 2013, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)Jonathan Caldwell, 13, of Hendersonville, Tenn., waits for his turn during the semifinal round of the National Spelling Bee on Thursday, May 30, 2013, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
  • Neha Seshadri, 12, of Imlay City, Mich., left, Kuvam Shahane, 13, of Rochester Hills, Mich., center, and Ryan Devanandan, 13, of Albany, N.Y., right, listen as Anuk Dayaprema, 14, of Vincenza, Italy spells during the semifinal round of the National Spelling Bee, Thursday, May 30, 2013, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) Neha Seshadri, 12, of Imlay City, Mich., left, Kuvam Shahane, 13, of Rochester Hills, Mich., center, and Ryan Devanandan, 13, of Albany, N.Y., right, listen as Anuk Dayaprema, 14, of Vincenza, Italy spells during the semifinal round of the National Spelling Bee, Thursday, May 30, 2013, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
  • Ronan Howlett, 14, of Cornwall, Vt., incorrectly spells his word during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)Ronan Howlett, 14, of Cornwall, Vt., incorrectly spells his word during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
  • Sophia Limacher, 13, of Seattle, Wash, incorrectly spells " morosoph" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)Sophia Limacher, 13, of Seattle, Wash, incorrectly spells " morosoph" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
  • Shayley Martin, 12, of Riner, Va., incorrectly spells "sussultatory" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)Shayley Martin, 12, of Riner, Va., incorrectly spells "sussultatory" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
  • Syamantak Payra, 14, of Bountiful, Utah, spells "stultiloquence" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)Syamantak Payra, 14, of Bountiful, Utah, spells "stultiloquence" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
  • Caleb Miller, 13, of Calhoun, La., cast his head back after incorrectly spelling "cyanope'" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)  Caleb Miller, 13, of Calhoun, La., cast his head back after incorrectly spelling "cyanope'" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
  • Amber Born, 14 of Marblehead, Mass., covers her face while spelling "malacophilous" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)  Amber Born, 14 of Marblehead, Mass., covers her face while spelling "malacophilous" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
  • Aditya Rao, 13, of Phillipsburg, N.J., spells "tatterdemalion" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)Aditya Rao, 13, of Phillipsburg, N.J., spells "tatterdemalion" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
  • Arvind Mahankali, 13, of Bayside Hills, N.Y., spells "intravasation" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)Arvind Mahankali, 13, of Bayside Hills, N.Y., spells "intravasation" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
  • Ashwin Veeramani, 13, of North Royalton, Ohio, incorrectly spells "amimia" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)Ashwin Veeramani, 13, of North Royalton, Ohio, incorrectly spells "amimia" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
  • Jonathan Caldwell, 13, of Hendersonville, Tenn., spells "persiflage" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)Jonathan Caldwell, 13, of Hendersonville, Tenn., spells "persiflage" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
  • Shobha Dasari, 12, of Pearland, Texas spells "spasmolytic" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)Shobha Dasari, 12, of Pearland, Texas spells "spasmolytic" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
  • Syamantak Payra, 12, of Friendswood, Texas, spells "hepatectomy" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)Syamantak Payra, 12, of Friendswood, Texas, spells "hepatectomy" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
  • Emily Keaton, 14, of Pikeville, Ky., spells "encephalitis" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)Emily Keaton, 14, of Pikeville, Ky., spells "encephalitis" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
  • Matthew Donohue, 14, of Kingston, Mass., incorrectly spells "diplodocus" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)Matthew Donohue, 14, of Kingston, Mass., incorrectly spells "diplodocus" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
  • Ryan Devanandan, 13, of Albany, N.Y.,  spells "aporia" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)Ryan Devanandan, 13, of Albany, N.Y., spells "aporia" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
  • Kuvam Shahane, 13, of Rochester Hills, Mich., spells "griseous" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)Kuvam Shahane, 13, of Rochester Hills, Mich., spells "griseous" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
  • Neha Seshadri, 12, of Imlay City, Mich., spells "physiognomy" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)Neha Seshadri, 12, of Imlay City, Mich., spells "physiognomy" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
  • Gokul Venkatachalam, 12, of Chesterfield, Mo.,  spells "smellfungus" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)Gokul Venkatachalam, 12, of Chesterfield, Mo., spells "smellfungus" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
  • Mary Skirvin, 14, of Anderson, Ind., incorrectly spells "ignimbrite" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)Mary Skirvin, 14, of Anderson, Ind., incorrectly spells "ignimbrite" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
  • Anuk Dayaprema, 14, of Vincenza, Italy, spells "bavardage" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)  Anuk Dayaprema, 14, of Vincenza, Italy, spells "bavardage" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
  • Mary Skirvin, 13, of Nashville, Ind., incorrectly spells "laureation" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)Mary Skirvin, 13, of Nashville, Ind., incorrectly spells "laureation" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
  • Margaret Peterson, 13 of Granger, Ind.,  spells "vecturist" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)Margaret Peterson, 13 of Granger, Ind., spells "vecturist" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
  • Amber Born, 14 of Marblehead, Mass.,  spells "pediculicide" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)Amber Born, 14 of Marblehead, Mass., spells "pediculicide" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
  • Sriram Hathwar, 13 of Painted Post, N.Y., spells "flaneur" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)Sriram Hathwar, 13 of Painted Post, N.Y., spells "flaneur" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
  • Emma Greenlee, 14 of Aurora, Minn., spells "joculator" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)Emma Greenlee, 14 of Aurora, Minn., spells "joculator" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
  • Joseph Delamerced, 13, of Cincinnati, Oh., spells "malleolus" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)Joseph Delamerced, 13, of Cincinnati, Oh., spells "malleolus" during the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
  • Anthony Constantine, 13, of Milford, Ct.,  spells his word during the second round of the  Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Wednesday, May 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)Anthony Constantine, 13, of Milford, Ct., spells his word during the second round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Wednesday, May 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
  • Christopher O'Connor, 13, of Tucson, Arizona incorrectly spells "pultaceous" during the semi-final round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)Christopher O'Connor, 13, of Tucson, Arizona incorrectly spells "pultaceous" during the semi-final round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
  • Isabel Cholbi of San Bernardino, California spells "telergy" during the semi-final round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)Isabel Cholbi of San Bernardino, California spells "telergy" during the semi-final round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
  • Audrey Bantug, 13, of San Ramon, California spells "oread" during the semi-final round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)Audrey Bantug, 13, of San Ramon, California spells "oread" during the semi-final round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
  • Katharine Wang, 11, of Beijing, China incorrectly spells "hyetomete" during the semi-final round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)  Katharine Wang, 11, of Beijing, China incorrectly spells "hyetomete" during the semi-final round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
  • Eva Kitlen, 14, of Niwot, Colorado  spells "kleptocrat" during the semi-final round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)Eva Kitlen, 14, of Niwot, Colorado spells "kleptocrat" during the semi-final round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
  • Himanvi Kopuri, 12 of Denver, spells "stupefacient" during the semi-final round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)Himanvi Kopuri, 12 of Denver, spells "stupefacient" during the semi-final round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
  • Amber Born, 14 of Marblehead, Mass. reacts after spelling the word "malacophilous" correctly during the semifinal round of the National Spelling Bee, Thursday, May 30, 2013, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) Amber Born, 14 of Marblehead, Mass. reacts after spelling the word "malacophilous" correctly during the semifinal round of the National Spelling Bee, Thursday, May 30, 2013, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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Maybe it’s the fourth time that’s the charm, perhaps it’s what 13-year-old Arvind Mahankali calls the “German blessing,” or it could just be that the eighth-grader just really knows how to spell. But whatever it was, late Thursday night the teen from Bayside Hills, N.Y., was crowned the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee champion.

Amid falling confetti and whoops and cheers from the crowd, Arvind lifted the golden trophy above his head, finally cracking a smile after a grueling 2 hours and 30 minutes of spelling.

“I can’t even talk,” the fan favorite uttered after correctly spelling “knaidel.” “This means I’m retiring on a good note.”

Since 2010, when Arvind made his first appearance at the national level bee, the charismatic teenager has captured the affection of spelling fans. This was the last year he was eligible to compete in the bee. The past two years he’s placed third, and historically he’s been tripped up on German-derived words.

So when the judges announced that the final word to clinch the title was a German-derived word for a type of dumpling, both Arvind and the audience groaned good-naturedly. But it was all for nothing, as Arvind confidently spelled out k-n-a-i-d-e-l.

Katharine Wang, 11, of Beijing, China, second from left, hugs Amber Born, 14 of Marblehead, Massachusetts at the start of the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 30, 2013. Matthew Donohue of Kingston, Mass. is at right. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

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Katharine Wang, 11, of Beijing, China, second from left, hugs Amber Born, ... more >

“The German curse turned into a German blessing,” the young man said, confetti caught in his hair, his brown eyes wide behind his glasses.

The final rounds were a full two hours before the championship round, when a special 25-word list was used to cull the three competitors to one final victor.

Among the words doled out to the spellers were “trichocercous,” which means having a spiny tail; “panjandrum,” another name for a pretentious official; and “tournedos,” a word common on restaurant menus which means a small filet of beef

One of the favorites to win, Vanya Shivashankar, was ousted after misspelling “zenaida,” a type of bird. Her sister won in 2009. The 11-year-old from Kansas still has two more years to try for the title.

Vismaya Kharkar was finally stumped by “paryphodrome,” which relates to the veins on a leaf. Throughout the finals she seemed to panic when spelling a word but made it through four rounds before hearing the bell that meant she had made a mistake and was eliminated. She groaned “no,” when she heard the sound but said “thank you” during the audience applause.

Last girl standing Amber Born, 14, of Marblehead, Mass., was buzzed for incorrectly spelling “hallali,” a word for a huntsman’s bugle call. By the time she’d finished spelling it her way, she already knew “that’s not right.”

Finally it was down to Arvind and 13-year-old Tower Lakes, Ill., eighth-grader Pranav Sivakumar, who was eliminated after misspelling “cyanophycean,” which relates to blue-green algae.

Arvind admitted that many of the words in the final round were “extremely hard, especially the one that eliminated [fellow speller] Grace Remmer. That one I didn’t know.”

The final round was the culmination of three days of spelling.

Earlier this week, 281 spellers representing their counties and states headed to Oxon Hill, where their numbers were winnowed down to 42 semifinalists and in turn, a final 11 children heading into a prime-time television event hoping to be the next name engraved on the bee’s gold trophy cup.

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