This year’s National Spelling Bee, administered, as always, by The E.W. Scripps Company, came to a conclusion tonight during a live broadcast on ESPN. The time-honored national tradition sweeps the country each year for the best and brightest children, pitting them against each other for the title of Champion. Tonight’s finals aired at 8 p.m. EDT with two new national champions: Jairam Hathwar and Nihar “The Machine” Janga.
Hathwar, a seventh grader, comes from a family of previous winners and hails from The Alternative School for Math and Science in Corning, NY. Fifth grader Janga, affectionately known as “The Machine,” comes from River Ridge Elementary School in Austin, TX, and loves playing Batman: Arkham Asylum. The two beat out a total of 274 other finalists for the epic title match. Some of their most challenging words were ‘gesellschaft’ and ‘feldenkrais’.
The runner up, eighth grader Snehaa Ganesh Kumar, tagged out of the competition after spelling ‘usucapion’ incorrectly, leaving the remaining boys to face one another head-to-head. The two found themselves locked in a spell-down that lasted over 16 rounds and two glorious hours, before the judges themselves threw in the towel and gave the two young geniuses a shared win.
This year’s competition received particular social media attention, thanks to its primetime spot on ESPN. Most of it, hilariously, focused on how unhappy Janga seemed about sharing the title:
But the real MVP of the night was the National Spelling Bee Twitter, which delivered an epic shut-down to someone who perhaps needs more of a time-out than a comfort couch:
Though the night finished with a mostly-unwanted tie, it’s still up for debate who truly won the competition. At the very least, the memories of disgruntled kids savagely tearing each other apart at a spelling bee should tide us over until next year.