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OXON HILL, Md. – When the confetti flew, the two boys stood in the center of the stage and shook hands. They held up the trophy together. Both were champions, a Spelling Bee finish unseen in more than half a century.
Sriram Hathwar and Ansun Sujoe had essentially used up the entire list of words the Bee had to offer. The one time Sriram misspelled, Ansun did too. Then they were spot on for their final 12 spellings combined, acing words such as "thymelici," ''encaenia," ''skandhas," ''sdrucciola" and "holluschick."
Sriram had been a favorite to win. Ansun had come out of nowhere. When it was all done, 14-year-old Sriram from Painted Post, New York, and 13-year-old Ansun from Fort Worth, Texas, had each won $30,000 in cash as co-winners of the 87th Scripps National Spelling Bee.