OXON HILL, Md. -- 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.
The pair battled for 25 rounds in the finals, according to Reuters. They ended co-winners when Jairam, 13, correctly spelled "feldenkrais," a method of education, and Nihar, 11, aced "gesellschaft," a type of social relationship.
Each will receive a trophy and $45,000 in cash and prizes.