Nemmani had met Modi on the spelling stage before the Scripps Bee, though. He was runner up to her in their Collin County spelling bee, WFAA reported. When asked if having her up there helped him, he said, "Yeah, I guess. I guess it gave me a little more confidence."
The Bee reached its final two spellers in Round 17.
On-stage competition began Tuesday after spellers took a written test, which played a large part in determining which spellers qualified for the finals, WFAA reported.
The field was expanded to 515 spellers to accommodate wild cards — there had never been more than 300 competitors — and four qualified through the "RSVBee" program, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Nemmani and Modi live 15 miles apart. The third-place finisher, Abhijay Kodali, lives in Flower Mound, also in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the Times reported.
As for when Nemmani knew he'd win with the word koinonia?
"When I heard it," he told WFAA.