Spelling Bee Called a Tie — After 66 Rounds

Monday, 24 Feb 2014 08:23 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Two middle-schoolers fought so hard for a place in the Scripps National Spelling Bee finals that organizers had to call it a tie — after 66 rounds.

Fifth-grader Sophia Hoffman and seventh-grader Kush Sharma, the two finalists out of an original cohort of 25 contestants in the Jackson County, Mo., contest, would have kept going, but organizers were too tired, The Kansas City Star reported.

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Mary Olive Thompson, outreach coordinator for Kansas City Public Library, where the contest was held, described Saturday's battle of words: "Legendary."

"We didn't want to just go through the dictionary and give them more words. We feared that someone would get a word that was too easy while the other would get an extremely difficult word. We wanted to be a bit more calculated and neutral, and we wanted to give each an equal opportunity."

Thompson added, "The officials were fatigued. The kids weren't tired. They had endless energy and were doing an amazing job."

Sophia and Kush will now go head to head in a playoff next month.

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