National Spelling bee ends in tie for 2nd year in a row

Ben Nuckols
Associated Press

Oxon Hill, Md. — They couldn't be rattled. They couldn't be denied. Gokul Venkatachalam and Vanya Shivashankar had worked too hard and come close too many times not to win the National Spelling Bee.

Vanya Shivashankar, right, 13, of Olathe, Kan., and Gokul Venkatachalam, 14, of St. Louis, shake hands as co-champions after winning the finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, Thursday, May 28, 2015, in Oxon Hill, Md.

So they shared the title, making history in two different ways.

The bee hadn't ended in a tie for 52 years — until last year. Now it's happened for an unprecedented two years running.

And Vanya is the first sibling of a past champion to win. Her sister, Kavya, won in 2009.

Vanya's final word was "scherenschnitte." After being informed he'd be the co-champion if he got the next word right, Gokul didn't even bother to ask the definition before spelling "nunatak."

Gokul finished third last year.