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Spellers who've made deep runs at previous bees have loud cheering sections from friends they've made over years of spelling at the highest level.

The Roddickton native won the provincial Telegram Spelling Bee in February, which earned her a berth in the prestigious competition in the U.S. Karthik added that as soon as he heard the pronouncer say the word "koinonia", he knew he was going to win. The tension and relief on the faces of the other competitors, including Nicholas Lee, 14.

Karthik ended up beating 12-year-old Naysa Modi, who lives about 15 miles away and topped him at their county spelling bee.

Karthik Nemmani, 14, from McKinney, Texas, holds the Scripps National Spelling Bee Championship Trophy with Scripps President and Chief Executive Officer Adam Symson after winning the annual competition in Oxon Hill, Md., on Thursday.

During prime time on ESPN, she spelled arrhostia and gnomonics before missing her word.

And Bailly got his well-deserved recognition during the finals when he quoted the song "Shake It Off" for the sample sentence for the word "pseudepigrapha", which Abhijay Kodali, 11, of Flower Mound, Texas, spelled correctly.

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Finalists talk as Karthik Nemmani spells a word during the final round.

Karthik also continued a longtime trend by becoming the 14th champion or co-champion of South Asian descent the bee has had in 11 consecutive years. This was her fourth national spelling bee.

"I had confidence, but I didn't really think it would happen", Nemmani said moments after receiving his trophy at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in suburban Washington.

She said she struggled with the "ae" because that's not normally seen in German. Moreover, a change in how spellers were invited to this year's bee drew hundreds more spellers than in past years.

This year, 41 of the orginal 516 spellers made it to the first round of the the finals. And some states, such as Montana, sent only one victor to the nationals while others, like OH, sent 18.

This is the third time Aisha is competing in the national bee.