— -- Gokul Venkatachalam and Vanya Shivashankar were named co-champions at the Scripps National Spelling Bee tonight.
The spelling bee veterans traded words for several rounds at the competition, held tonight in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Venkatachalam, 14, of St. Louis, Missouri, correctly spelled "nunatak" to finish the championship round.
Shivashankar, 13, of Olathe, Kansas, said afterwards that she was dedicating the performance to her late grandmother.
"Everything takes hard work and passion, and definitely what I put in, and I know what Gokul put in," she said at the end of the competition.
"I've dealt with defeat, and I'm finally happy to have success," said Venkatachalam, who was wearing a LeBron James jersey underneath his shirt during the Spelling Bee's final round.
Both had participated in Scripps National Spelling Bees before, with Shivashankar finishing third last year.
It's the second year in a row that the Scripps National Spelling Bee ended in a tie.