National Spelling Bee ends in tie for 3rd year

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Jairam Jagadeesh Hathwar of Painted Post, New York, waits for his turn to spell in the finals of the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee May 26, 2016 in National Harbor, Maryland. Hathwar later became co-champion of the Bee. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

OXON HILL, Md. (AP) — The words were tougher. The final rounds lasted longer. The result was the same.

The Scripps National Spelling Bee ended in a tie for the third consecutive year Thursday night, with Jairam Hathwar and Nihar Janga declared co-champions after a roller-coaster finish.

Thirteen-year-old Jairam is the younger brother of the 2014 co-champion, Sriram Hathwar. Nihar, at age 11, is the youngest winner of the bee on record.

Scripps made the bee tougher after two consecutive ties, forcing the last two spellers to get through three times as many words as in years past.

Jairam misspelled two words, but both times, Nihar followed up with a miss and the bee continued.

Each will receive a trophy and $45,000 in cash and prizes.