Seongjun Lee, of Seoul, South Korea, concentrates before missing the word "apparatchik" on May 28. (Evan Vucci/AP)
(CNN) -- Ansun Sujoe, 13, and Sriram Hathwar, 14, were declared co-champions of the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday.
Hathwar, an eighth-grader from Painted Post, New York, correctly spelled the word "stichomythia." Sujoe, a seventh-grader from Fort Worth, Texas, correctly spelled the word "feuilleton."
It's the first time the bee has ended in a tie in more than 50 years. The last time there were co-champions was in 1962, organizers said.
"I think we both know that the competition was against the dictionary, not against each other," Hathwar said after the win. "I am happy to share this trophy with him."
In this year's national championship, 281 spellers from eight countries competed for the title. The contest started Tuesday and finished up Thursday night with the finals broadcast live on ESPN.
The youngest competitor was 8 years old. And the oldest was 15 years old, organizers said.
Even students who didn't walk away with a trophy seemed excited about their next steps.
Tejas Muthusamy, 11, said he'd return home ready to change his studying routine for future competitions.
"Now I'll prepare more for the finals, and try to go through more esoteric words," Muthusamy said, minutes after misspelling "hallenkirche" got him kicked out of the competition.
Eighth grader Kate Miller, who struck out in the finals when she misspelled the world "exochorion," said there's a lot she'll be bringing back to Abilene, Texas.
"I will take home with me a suitcase full of happy memories, great friends and a true feeling of acceptance," she told ESPN.
And she didn't hesitate when asked what her next move would be.
"I don't need to study spelling anymore, and I don't really need to sleep anymore," she said. "So I'm going to go home and watch every horror movie on which I can get my hands."
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Posted by: Nick Viviani