Spelling Bee Champ Breaks 'German Curse'

Arvind Mahankali is first boy to win since 2008

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted May 31, 2013 3:10 AM CDT

(Newser) – This year's National Spelling Bee winner is a 13-year-old eighth-grader from New York. Arvind Mahankali triumphed on the word "knaidel," meaning dumpling, thus conquering his trouble with German-derived words; they've knocked him out of the running in the previous two competitions. "The German curse has turned into a German blessing," he said. Mahankali became the first boy to win the contest since 2008, USA Today notes.

The Scripps national contest began Tuesday in Oxon Hill, Maryland, with 281 competitors; the number was whittled down to 11 finalists in last night's bout. Along with his trophy, Mahankali gets $30,000 in cash, a US savings bond of $2,500 courtesy of Merriam-Webster, and a $2,000 collection of reference materials from Encyclopedia Britannica. So what's next for Mahankali? Not Disney World: "I shall spend the summer, maybe the entire day, studying physics," he said, per CNN.

Arvind Mahankali, 13, of Bayside Hills, N.Y., holds the championship trophy after he won the National Spelling Bee by spelling the word knaidel correctly Thursday, May 30, 2013, in Oxon Hill, Md.
Arvind Mahankali, 13, of Bayside Hills, N.Y., holds the championship trophy after he won the National Spelling Bee by spelling the word "knaidel" correctly Thursday, May 30, 2013, in Oxon Hill, Md.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Arvind Mahankali, 13, of Bayside Hills, NY, watches as confetti falls after his win.
Arvind Mahankali, 13, of Bayside Hills, NY, watches as confetti falls after his win.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Arvind Mahankali, 13, of Bayside Hills, NY, is congratulated by his family.
Arvind Mahankali, 13, of Bayside Hills, NY, is congratulated by his family.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Scripps National Spelling Bee champion Arvind Mahankali pats second place finisher Pranav Sivakumar, 13, of Tower Lakes, Ill., on the shoulder after Sivakumar incorrectly spelled his final word.
Scripps National Spelling Bee champion Arvind Mahankali pats second place finisher Pranav Sivakumar, 13, of Tower Lakes, Ill., on the shoulder after Sivakumar incorrectly spelled his final word.   (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
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