The 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee came down to Pranav Sivakumar versus Arvind Mahankali. Both have made the national spelling bee before, but four-time national spelling bee contestant Mahankal, 13, pulled it out.
Sivakumar stumbled on “cyanophycean” and then Mahankali, an eighth grader at Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School in Queens, spelled “tokonoma” and “knaidel,” which means matzoh ball or dumpling, to take the title. It’s the first time a boy has won Scripps since 2008.
Following his win, Arvind said that the words were “extremely hard” and that he is retiring from spelling bees, wanting to turn his efforts to studying physics now.