Epic Two-Week, 95-Round Spelling Bee Finally Ends

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A Kansas City seventh-grader is heading to the Scripps National Spelling Bee after finally besting a fifth grader in 95-round spelling bee of the ages that took two weeks to complete.

It all started February 22 at the Plaza Branch of the Kansas City Public Library, when Sophia Hoffman, 11, and Kush Sharma, 13, were the final two competitors after 19 rounds. Several hours and 47 rounds later, they were still going but the Bee was out of words

But, as WCPO pointed out, "there can only 'bee' one" winner, so officials had to go back and get a list of more words and add an additional day of competition.

That was today. Sharma and Hoffman went another 28 rounds before, finally, Hoffman got one wrong: "stifling." This was after she got "schadenfreude," "mahout" and "barukhzy." Hoffman's older sister, Jordan, won the Jackson County bee three years in a row, so there will probably be some gloating at the dinner table tonight.

Sharma then spelled "definition" correctly in the 95th round to win. He will compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., beginning May 25. Last year, Arvind Mahankali won with the word "knaidel."


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