'Koinonia' means victory for wildcard entry at Scripps National Spelling Bee

Participants who advanced to the final round gather on stage during the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Wednesday

He finished 17th in 1988 as an eighth-grader at University Heights Middle School in Riverside. Fans can head to the Spelling Bee's official Twitter to view live updates from Thursday's final rounds.

Anisha Rao, 12, from Dublin, Calif., spells her word incorrectly during Round 9 of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 31, 2018. This year, however, he made it in through a new, second-chance rule known as "RSVBee".

Karthik Nemmani, a 14-year-old Indian-American boy, today won the prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee, taking home more than United States dollars 42,000 in cash and prizes after correctly spelling "koinonia" to become the 14th champion from the community in 11 consecutive years.

"I'm just really happy", he said moments after his victory. "I felt kind of nervous because I know anybody can get any word, and there's lots of luck involved".

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He wins more than $40,000 cash, the Scripps trophy, and trips to NY and Los Angeles for national television appearances, among other prizes.

Rohan said his goal is to make it into the top-10 finalists tonight.

He smiled, and added, "I guess it gave me a little more confidence".

Mattie's correct spelling of the medical word "quartan" - denoting a mild form of malaria causing a fever that recurs every third day - advanced her to Round 3.

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Both girls survived eight rounds and were among the final 16 competitors who took center stage at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center near Washington. Only nine spellers remained after the first round in prime time. Scripps started a wild-card program this year that created a path to nationals for spellers who didn't win their regional bees, and some of the finalists got to the bee that way.

"I wouldn't say it was revenge", he said. It was the largest group in contest history to advance to the championship finals.

There were a total of 516 children who qualified for the nationals this year.

Yet amid the bigger Bee, returning spellers continued their dominance, even though a first-time competitor won. "When I heard it".

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