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.
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” — which means a hill or mountain that has been completely encircled by a glacier.
Gokul finished third last year.