Kansas City spelling bee goes 66 rounds, no winner crowned

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Standing on a stage, dealing with fluttering nerves, while spelling tongue twisting words is no easy task.

Many Tri-State students did just that Saturday when they participated in the 9 On Your Side Regional Spelling Bees for Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.

Eventually, Joseph Delamerced and Olivia Kaiser, won the right to head to Washington D.C. in May to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Delamerced's will represent southwest Ohio. Kaiser will represent Indiana and Kentucky.

And while the bee had local parents on the edge of their seats, the regional Scripps bee hosted by Kansas City sister station KSHB can only be described as e-p-i-c.

It was there, on the stage of the Plaza Branch of the Kansas City Public Library, that fifth-grader Sophia Hoffman and seventh-grader Kush Sharma performed one of the most intense championship spell-offs in Scripps bee history.

The two went toe-to-toe, or word-for-word, for 66 rounds Saturday. Neither faltered in their resolve. Neither participant won either, after they burned through the bee's list of words to spell.

Officials settled on declaring a tie to end Saturday's event.

Of course, the tie does not mean the bee is over. There can “bee” only one regional contender sent to the national competition.

So, Sharma and Hoffman will spell-off again, a month from now, in a sudden death round to determine a single winner.

KSHB bee officials might plan on bringing the whole Merriam-Webster dictionary to that event, and perhaps be ready to invent a few words to boot.

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