These Adorable Kids Are Way Too Good At Spelling

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images.
The annual Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee is a strange but sweet tradition: Take a bunch of middle schoolers, put them on a stage, and test them on knowledge that basically no one has in front of a national audience. This year, two eighth graders kept cool under pressure and tied for the title. It's the second year in a row that the spelling bee has ended in a draw.

Vanya Shivashankar, 13 (left), and Gokul Venkatachalam, 14, outfoxed every attempt the judges made to stump them. According to CNN, the Bee ended when the judges ran out of words for the remaining contestants to spell. The two finalists faced off for 30 whole minutes, and the head-to-head competition managed make one of the things writers dread most into a must-watch event.

On the list? "Scherenschnitte," "nunatak," “myrmotherine,” and “hippocrepiform,” among others.

Both winners have plenty of practice at these sorts of competitions. Both have been competing in the Spelling Bee for years. Gokul came in third last year, and Vanya's sister won in 2009. Vanya also emerged victorious from Lifetime's kid quiz show Child Genius.

Aside from the epic finish, this year's Bee also included its first ever Drake reference. When asked to read a sentence that included one contestant's word, the official reader said, "Rumor has it that Drake's next mix-tape contains a rap in which every verse begins and ends with a bacchius." You know Kanye is already jonsing for a shout-out next year.
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