Scripps Spelling Bee 2016 Winners: Meet the Finalists (Yes, Two) Who Took Home the Prize

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

On Thursday night, the 89th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee crowned two winners for the third year in a row; 11-year-old Nihar Saireddy Janga and 13-year-old Jairam Jagadeesh Hathwar shared the title of America's best spellers.  

"I'm just speechless," Janga said, according to a press release. "I can't say anything, I'm only in fifth grade."

Source: Cliff Owen/AP

After 25 head-to-head rounds, according to the BBC, the co-champs sealed the deal with words "Feldenkrais" (Hathwar) and "gesellschaft" (Janga).

Janga hails from Austin, Texas, where he is a fifth grader at River Ridge Elementary School. Other than having a knack for spelling words, he likes to play video games and football, according to his spelling bee biography. His favorite movie is, naturally, the spelling bee blockbuster Akeelah and the Bee, and he hopes to be a neurosurgeon someday.

Hathwar is from Painted Post, New York, and is in seventh grade at the Alternative School for Math and Science, according to his bio. In his spare time, Hathwar likes to stay updated on the elections. In the future, he wants to attend Harvard University and eventually become a physician. He follows in the footsteps of his brother Sriram, who was a co-winner in 2014.

ABC reported the two boys beat out 282 contestants to take home a $40,000 reward, $2,500 savings bond from Merriam-Webster, $400 of goods from Encyclopedia Britannica and, of course, a trophy.

Read more: These Spelling Bee Champions Can Teach Us an Important Lesson About Race in America

Correction: May 27, 2016
A previous version of this story misstated the number of contestants Nihar Saireddy Janga and Jairam Jagadeesh Hathwar beat to become co-winners. There were 284 contestants total, so that number is 282.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Kathleen Wong

Kathleen is a branded content staff writer at Mic. She is based in New York and can be reached at kathleen@mic.com.

MORE FROM

Kremlin slams White House's warning of potential chemical attack in Syria

The U.S. and Russia continue to spar over Syria.

EU slaps Google with a record 2.42 billion euro fine

The tech giant has a hefty fine in its future.

Detroit judge halts deportation of 1,400 Iraqi nationals living in US

Many of the Iraqis are Chaldean Christians who reportedly voted for Trump.

'Hot Mic' podcast: Travel ban ruling, Health care opposition, Castile family settlement

All the important stories to get you caught up for Tuesday.

White House says it knows of potential Syrian chemical attack, warns Assad of "heavy price"

The Trump administration did not provide any evidence backing the threat.

In tweets, Serena Williams shuts down John McEnroe's sexist comments 

Williams said his statements were "not factually based."

Kremlin slams White House's warning of potential chemical attack in Syria

The U.S. and Russia continue to spar over Syria.

EU slaps Google with a record 2.42 billion euro fine

The tech giant has a hefty fine in its future.

Detroit judge halts deportation of 1,400 Iraqi nationals living in US

Many of the Iraqis are Chaldean Christians who reportedly voted for Trump.

'Hot Mic' podcast: Travel ban ruling, Health care opposition, Castile family settlement

All the important stories to get you caught up for Tuesday.

White House says it knows of potential Syrian chemical attack, warns Assad of "heavy price"

The Trump administration did not provide any evidence backing the threat.

In tweets, Serena Williams shuts down John McEnroe's sexist comments 

Williams said his statements were "not factually based."