Arvind Mahankali, 13, won the won the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday after correctly spelling the word “knaidel,” a type of dumpling.
Knaidel (pronounced can-eh-dell) is a Yiddish word, derived from German. German-derived words have given Mahankali trouble in the past. The eight-grader, from Bayside Hills, New York, finished third in two previous national spelling bees where he was eliminated after trying to spell German-derived words.
Mahankali, who wants to be a physicist, is in his final year of eligibility in the spelling championship. “It means that I am retiring on a good note,” he told CNN. “I shall spend the summer, maybe the entire day, studying physics.”
For his efforts, Mahankali wins $32,500 in cash and bonds and a giant trophy, which he hoisted over his head after spelling the final word correctly.
The runner-up was Pranav Sivakumar, 13, who got caught up on cyanophycean, a type of blue-green algae.
In case anyone is wondering if they have what it takes to compete with some very smart eighth-graders, Scripps has a sample test, similar to the one the 281 spellers had to take in the preliminary round.