OXON HILL, Md. — Arvind Mahankali has conquered his nemesis, the German language, to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
The 13-year-old from Bayside Hills, N.Y., correctly spelled knaidel, a small mass of leavened dough, to win the 86th version of the competition. The bee tested brain power, composure and, for the first time, knowledge of vocabulary.
Arvind will take home $30,000 in cash and prizes along with a huge, cup-shaped trophy.
He finished third in 2011 and 2012, eliminated both times on German-derived words. This year, he got two German words in the finals and nailed them both, including the winning word.
The eleven finalists advanced from a field of 281 contenders based on a combination of a performance onstage and their performance on a computerized spelling and vocabulary test.
Runner-up was 13-year-old Pranav Shivashankar of Olathe, Kan., who stumbled and was eliminated on the word “cyanophycean,” a blue-green alga.