COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) -- For the first time, brothers have placed first in their grade-level competitions at the Pikes Peak Regional Spelling Bee. And English is their second language.
Akshay Buddiga, 11, won in the fifth-sixth grade level and Pratyush, 12, won in the seventh-eighth grade event.
Both boys credit their mom, Rekha, as their biggest supporter and coach.
''From a very young age, both boys were good with spelling,'' she said. ''I think we also encouraged them to think that spelling is important.''
The two boys, along with the other four top finishers in each competition, will have the opportunity to compete in the state bee March 16 in Denver.
Pratyush, a seventh-grader, was the winner over 115 other competitors in his competition. His winning word was ''entrechat,'' a type of ballet leap.
Akshay, a sixth-grader, beat out 127 kids for the title of spelling champion for the fifth and sixth grades. His winning word was ''consensus.'' ''We're glad we both won,'' Pratyush said.
''We would like to go to state together and will we root for each other even though we will be competing against each other.'' Both boys attend Mountain Ridge Middle School.
English is their second language. Both first spoke Telegu, a language commonly spoken in southern India.
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