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2 boys declared co-champions of Spelling Bee



By Ben Nuckols

OXON HILL, Md. (AP) - For the first time in 52 years, two spellers were declared co-champions of the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday.

Sriram Hathwar of Painted Post, New York, and Ansun Sujoe of Fort Worth, Texas, shared the title after a riveting final-round duel in which they nearly exhausted the 25 designated championship words. After they spelled a dozen words correctly in a row, they both were named champions.

Scripps National Spelling Bee Crowns Co-Champions

Earlier, 14-year-old Sriram opened the door to an upset by 13-year-old Ansun after he misspelled "corpsbruder," a close comrade. But Ansun was unable to take the title because he got "antegropelos," which means waterproof leggings, wrong.

Sriram entered the final round as the favorite after finishing in third place last year. Ansun just missed the semifinals last year.

They become the fourth co-champions in the bee's 89-year history and the first since 1962.

"The competition was against the dictionary, not against each other," Sriram said after both were showered with confetti onstage. "I'm happy to share this trophy with him."

Sriram backed up his status as the favorite by rarely looking flustered on stage, nodding confidently as he outlasted 10 other spellers to set up the one-on-one duel with Ansun. The younger boy was more nervous and demonstrative, no more so than on the word that gave him a share of the title: "feuilleton," the features section of a European newspaper or magazine.

"Ah, whatever!" Ansun said before beginning to spell the word as the stage lights turned red, signaling that he had 30 seconds left.

Although they hoisted a single trophy together onstage, each will get one to take home, and each gets the champion's haul of more than $33,000 in cash and prizes.

Gokul Venkatachalam of Chesterfield, Missouri, finished third, and Ashwin Veeramani of North Royalton, Ohio, was fourth.

Both champions are Indian-American. The past eight winners and 13 of the past 17 have been of Indian descent, a run that began in 1999 after Nupur Lala's victory, which was later featured in the documentary "Spellbound."

___

Associated Press Writer Joseph White contributed to this report.

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Michael May 30 2014 at 12:49 AM

So the top four are from families from non-English-speaking countries. More evidence that the American school system sucks, and the intelligence level of caucasians in the U.S. is declining. We seem to be more interested in dumbing down the curricula so that minorities won't be challenged. Land of the free, home of the dummies.

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49 replies
idoglady1 May 30 2014 at 12:24 AM

Congratulations to both of these youngsters! Have you noticed that most winners in math and competitions of this nature are east Indian or foreigners? Does it not say something about how we motivate our kids and how much emphasis (or lack thereof) we put on success in school and beyond?

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43 replies
Maria Martinez May 30 2014 at 12:27 AM

GOOD NEWS! It is high time to reward and honor scholarship and intellectuality with national news stories instead of scandal after scandal, low taste entertainers, and lunatic shooting sprees.

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5 replies
revivalman May 30 2014 at 12:25 AM

Sriram Hathwar and Ansun Sujoe tied for first. Gokul Venkatachalam finished third, and Ashwin Veeramani was fourth. The past eight winners and 13 of the past 17 have been of Indian decent. Do Caucasian Americans even enter this contest anymore? Or are they all just stupid and can't spell? Pretty pathetic!!

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23 replies
lgddavison May 30 2014 at 1:57 AM

The real truth is... the American school system is being dumbed down intentionally by the overly conservative elements because they have learned that when people become educated they think for themselves, and that means the bubba candidates can't get elected in a national Democracy. The neocons want to outsource American jobs to the other countries so they can pay less, and make excess profits. It is the way to control the masses, keep them dumb, and down on the farm. It doesn't take a genius to figure that out.

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37 replies
jeffreyluckyana May 30 2014 at 12:07 AM

Congratulations to both of you! I am i-m-p-r-e-s-s-e-d.

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3 replies
jnwesner May 30 2014 at 12:30 AM

Ah, well. Maybe their kids will assimilate, become real Americans, and have no idea that there's a difference between its and it's, or that 2 does not substitute for too or to. (Or, if they really work at it, they just might maintain a tradition of excellence.)

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4 replies
dnsstickel May 30 2014 at 1:09 AM

Watched this on tv today and walked away feeling dumb as a bowl of soup. Congratulations to all the kids in this competition.

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2 replies
Connie dnsstickel May 30 2014 at 7:18 AM

next time use alphabet soup.....lol

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d1anaw dnsstickel May 30 2014 at 10:41 AM

How is that any different from an athlete who works with a coach? Oh yeah, mental isn't nearly as important as sports.

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atwin527 May 30 2014 at 12:20 AM

How great! It seems only fair that 2014 has co-champions. Both young men deserved the title. Impressive performance!

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Kate May 30 2014 at 1:06 AM

I think this is great, and I completely agree with Sriram that the competition is really not against each other, but against the dictionary. Any one of the young people who make it into these finals could out spell and out vocabulary me any day of the week, laugh.

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