The Jackson County Spelling Bee finally came to an end Saturday morning, sending 13-year-old Kush Sharma of Kansas City, Mo, to the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Sharma and 11-year-old Sophia Hoffman of Lee’s Summit went through the entire list of provided words during their first match up on Feb. 22. Organizers selected 20 more words from the dictionary before calling it a tie.
The rematch on Saturday featured 29 more rounds before judges declared a victor. Sharma correctly spelled “definition” to win the bee. That came after Hoffman misspelled “stifling” in the previous round.
Her parents appealed, questioning how the word was pronounced. The judges listened back to the tape and determined the word was said correctly.
Sharma says today will be his only break before heading to the national competition in Washington, D.C.
“After that it’s just going to be studying, studying, and studying,” says Sharma.
He says winning the national bee has been a goal since he was little.
Spelling bee organizers might have another marathon match next year, both Sharma and Hoffman still will be eligible for the competition in 2015.