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'German curse' no more: 13-year-old New York boy aces 'knaidel' to win National Spelling Bee

  • aae259943a6d6312330f6a706700386a.jpg

    Arvind Mahankali, 13, of Bayside Hills, N.Y., holds the championship trophy after he won the National Spelling Bee by spelling the word "knaidel" correctly on Thursday, May 30, 2013, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (The Associated Press)

  • c85b36fb3a696312330f6a7067001347.jpg

    Arvind Mahankali, 13, of Bayside Hills, N.Y., watches as confetti falls after he won the National Spelling Bee by spelling the word "knaidel" correctly on Thursday, May 30, 2013, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (The Associated Press)

  • c34248c23a5e6212330f6a706700751c.jpg

    Arvind Mahankali, 13, of Bayside Hills, N.Y., is congratulated by his mother Bhavani, as confetti falls after he won the National Spelling Bee by spelling the word "knaidel" correctly on Thursday, May 30, 2013, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (The Associated Press)

  • a2b4e7343a5b6212330f6a7067001333.jpg

    Arvind Mahankali, 13, of Bayside Hills, N.Y., holds the championship trophy after he won the National Spelling Bee by spelling the word "knaidel" correctly on Thursday, May 30, 2013, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (The Associated Press)

  • f4ee90c53a586212330f6a7067008b97.jpg

    Arvind Mahankali, 13, of Bayside Hills, N.Y., watches as confetti falls after he won the National Spelling Bee by spelling the word "knaidel" correctly on Thursday, May 30, 2013, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (The Associated Press)

New York City has its first Scripps National Spelling Bee winner in 16 years. Arvind Mahankali has never had a "knaidel," but he was able to spell the German-derived Yiddish word for a matzo ball Thursday night to earn the huge trophy and more than $30,000 in cash and prizes.

Arvind finished third the two previous years, eliminated both times on German words.

Arvind admires Albert Einstein and hopes to become a physicist. He's the first boy to win the bee since 2008, and the first champion from the Big Apple since Rebecca Sealfon in 1997. He's also the bee's sixth consecutive Indian-American winner and the 11th in the past 15 years.

The runner-up Thursday night was 13-year-old Pranav Sivakumar from Tower Lakes, Ill.

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