Marathon spelling bee finally ends - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Marathon spelling bee finally ends

Posted: Updated:

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A marathon spelling bee between two Kansas City-area students who exhausted the initial word list last month ended after 29 more rounds Saturday when the eventual runner-up stumbled over the word "stifling."

For more than an hour, seventh-grader Kush Sharma and fifth-grader Sophia Hoffman went toe-to-toe in the continuation of the Jackson County Spelling Bee, which began two weeks ago but had to be extended after the two breezed through the word list provided by the Scripps National Spelling Bee, then 20 more words picked out of the dictionary.

The contestants had no problem correctly spelling words like "boodle" and "slobber," often asking the moderator for a word's origin, definition or part of speech. But at the end of the 28th round, Sophia appeared puzzled when attempting to spell "stifling," and even more so when the bell rang to indicate she had gotten it wrong.

Following a lengthy break to listen to audio of the round to make sure Sophia had heard the word correctly, the judges ruled that she had misspelled it, meaning Kush could claim the title if he correctly spelled his word in the 29th round.

After being given his final word, "definition," Kush drew chuckles from spectators watching from a different room in the Kansas City Public Library when he asked for the definition. He promptly spelled it correctly and won the bee.

The end of the match brought to a close a whirlwind two weeks for Kush, a student at Frontier School of Innovation in Kansas City, and Sophia, a Highland Park Elementary School student in the Kansas City suburb of Lee's Summit.

Three days after they finished in a tie on Feb. 22, both of their families were flown to New York to make appearances on CNN and "Good Morning America." The two said they had become close friends because of the experience.

"I was pretty sad when she got that word incorrect," said Kush, who now moves on to the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., in May. "That's the game, you know? It's going to come down to one person, whether you're friends or not."

Sophia said she was excited that she made it so far in the bee and that she planned to compete again next year. Kush said he, too, would be back, and he wouldn't be surprised if the two dueled even longer next year.

Mark Hoffman, Sophia's father, called his daughter a tough kid who gained a lot from the competition despite the emotionally upsetting conclusion.

"I think it is part of the growth of the kids to learn how to work through disappointment and come out stronger," he said.

  • Top StoriesMore>>

  • Latest on the Clarion Hotel demolition

    Latest on the Clarion Hotel demolition

     

     

  • Prosecutor releases new details on Evan Reed case

    Prosecutor releases new details on Evan Reed case

    Thursday, July 31 2014 11:48 AM EDT2014-07-31 15:48:28 GMT
    The Wayne County Prosecutor's office released new details on the case against Toledo Mud Hens pitcher Evan Reed. The verbatim of the statement is listed below. The former Detroit Tiger is set to be in court again on August 12. Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy has charged minor league Toledo Mud Hens baseball pitcher Evan Reed, 28, in connection with an alleged sexual assault of a 45-year-old Oakland County woman. On March 29, 2014 at 10:00 p.m. it is alleged that the complainant was at a bar in 200 b...
    The Wayne County Prosecutor's office released new details on the case against Toledo Mud Hens pitcher Evan Reed. The verbatim of the statement is listed below. The former Detroit Tiger is set to be in court again on August 12. Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy has charged minor league Toledo Mud Hens baseball pitcher Evan Reed, 28, in connection with an alleged sexual assault of a 45-year-old Oakland County woman. On March 29, 2014 at 10:00 p.m. it is alleged that the complainant was at a bar in 200 b...
  • Human remains located in Monroe Township

    Human remains located in Monroe Township

    Thursday, July 31 2014 9:59 AM EDT2014-07-31 13:59:18 GMT
    Troopers from the Michigan State Police Monroe Post and two Michigan State Police K-9 Teams conducted a search of the quarry located near Telegraph Road and Dunbar Road in an attempt to locate missing Monroe Township woman, Jamie Rachelle West. This particular quarry was selected to be searched based on information provided by Jamie’s family.During the search, troopers located human remains. After the remains were located, a Trooper Investigator from the Monroe Post and the Michigan State Pol...
    Troopers from the Michigan State Police Monroe Post and two Michigan State Police K-9 Teams conducted a search of the quarry located near Telegraph Road and Dunbar Road in an attempt to locate missing Monroe Township woman, Jamie Rachelle West. This particular quarry was selected to be searched based on information provided by Jamie’s family.During the search, troopers located human remains. After the remains were located, a Trooper Investigator from the Monroe Post and the Michigan State Pol...

Area Events Calendar

See It, Shoot It, Send It!