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Texas boy spells 'koinonia' correctly, wins Scripps National Spelling Bee

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Grace Parrott of Ketchikan, and Daniel Doudnavo of Fairbanks placed high in this year's National Spelling Bee

Nemmani, a 14-year-old eighth-grader from Texas, spelt "koinonia" correctly for his victory on Thursday night after second place victor, 12-year-old Naysa Modi, got "bewusstseinslage" wrong.

Spelling bee fans in South Florida will have a local rooting interest tonight. Third place gets $20,000, fourth gets $10,000, fifth gets $5,000, and sixth will receive $2,500.

"I don't care", said Karthik's father, Krishna Nemmani.

The end of the biggest Scripps National Spelling Bee in history came abruptly, and it wasn't the conclusion that many expected.

Of the past 23 champions, 19 have had Indian heritage.

Karthik won by correctly spelling the word: "koinonia".

In 1985, Balu Natarajan became the first Indian-origin child to win the Spelling Bee and 17 others have followed him. Last year, she competed and tied for 189th place.

Thirteen-year-old Mattie Cull represented Newfoundland and Labrador in Washington, D.C., this week at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, and made it to Round 3 before being eliminated prior to the finals. In addition to the trophy, he gets more than $40,000 in cash and prizes.

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The National Bee is a high-profile, high-pressure endurance test as much as a nerd spelling match and spellers spend months preparing for it.

Padhy, who was speller No. 290 in this year's national contest, on Thursday correctly spelled Guayaquil, which is a port city in Ecuador along the Guayas River.

After her defeat, she was swarmed by dozens of current and former spellers who wished her well, smiling throughout.

"I'm going to put in more time studying for next year, and I know I have to study more out-of-the-box words", he said.

She said she struggled with the "ae" because that's not normally seen in German.

Karthik, for his part, took no extra satisfaction in vanquishing a familiar foe. "I wouldn't say I expected it. We were against the dictionary".

So this year, Scripps Howard created an "invitational" category that added 238 additional spellers to the national competition, bringing the total to a record-setting 516.

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