Teens from KC, St. Louis split national spelling bee title

Vanya Shivashankar, left, of Olathe, Kansas, and Gokul Venkatachalam of Chesterfield were declared co-winners of the 2015 Scripps National Spelling Bee. | Photo courtesy of CNN
Vanya Shivashankar, left, of Olathe, Kansas, and Gokul Venkatachalam of Chesterfield were declared co-winners of the 2015 Scripps National Spelling Bee. | Photo courtesy of CNN

Could a war over words in Washington be a sign of a new I-70 rivalry brewing between Kansas City and St. Louis? It could be — or, rather, could bee.

Vanya Shivashankar of Olathe, Kan., and Gokul Venkatachalam of Chesterfield were crowned co-champions of the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday in Washington, giving Kansas City and St. Louis joint bragging rights as the home of the country’s top scholastic speller.

Shivashankar, 13, and Venkatachalam, 14, both took home a trophy and more than $35,000 in cash prizes, Missourinet reports.

Shivashankar, whose sister, Kavya, won the bee in 2009, correctly spelled “scherenschnitte” as her final word.

Venkatachalam correctly spelled the word “nunatak” to secure his share of the championship.


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