Jacob Williamson reacts at Bee after misspelling kabaragoya

Jacob Williamson at the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee. (REUTERS)

Jacob Williamson at the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee. (REUTERS)

REUTERS

, Last Updated: 12:52 AM ET

A tense championship faceoff at the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee ended in a tie on Thursday, with co-winners declared for the first time in 52 years.

Sriram Hathwar, an eighth grader from Painted Post, New York, and Ansun Sujoe, a seventh grader from Fort Worth, Texas, battled head-to-head through six rounds before judges ruled the contest a tie.

"It was a surprise to me, I guess," Hathwar said of the tie after he and Sujoe raised the championship trophy before a cheering crowd in a hotel ballroom.

Hathwar and Sujoe were the last ones standing after third-place finisher Gokul Venkatachalam, a seventh grader from St. Louis, went out on "Kierkegaardian".

The spelling contest seemed over when Hathwar misspelled "corpsbruder", but Sujoe slipped on the next word, "antigropelos", and the faceoff was on.

The see-saw match before a primetime ESPN audience ended after Hathwar nailed "stichomythia". Pronouncer Jacques Bailly told Sujoe that if he spelled the next word correctly he and Hathwar would be co-winners.

The two each will receive a $30,000 cash prize. The tie was the first since 1962 and only the fourth in the 87-year history of the Bee.

That was the only uncanny aspect of this year’s Bee.

Jacob Williamson, 15, a home-schooled eighth grader from Cape Coral, Florida, was excitable on more than one occasion.

When asked to spell kabaragoya in the final round, Williamson yelled, “I know it, I know it. I totally know it!”

Only he didn’t.

His reaction live on ESPN after misspelling the word – kabaragoyas are a type of large lizard in Southeast Asia – has gained him international notoriety.

Under contest rules, when two or three finalists remain, they face a 25-word championship word list. When the list runs out, co-champions are declared.

Hathwar and Sujoe are the seventh and eighth Indian Americans in a row to win the Bee, a centerpiece of Americana for decades.

They emerged winners in a contest limited to those in eighth grade and younger. This year the Bee started with more than 11 million students across the United States and in at least seven foreign countries.

One of the 12 finalists said she was relieved that the Bee and the long months of preparation were finally over.

"I'm going to go home and watch every horror movie on which I can get my hands," said Kate Miller, a 14-year-old eighth grader from Abilene, Texas, who went out on "exchorion", part of an insect egg.

-With QMI Files


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