Nightly News   |  March 08, 2014

Spelling Bee Crowns W-I-N-N-E-R after Marathon Competition

It took nearly 100 rounds and officials running out of words before a spelling bee champion could emerge.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> holt: finally tonight, it lasted 2 weeks and took nearly 100 rounds, but we finally have a winner. it all went down at a regional spelling bee in kansas city . and now that winner goes on to the national spelling bee . our ron mott has the final showdown.

>> mott: in kansas city , missouri, it took 95 rounds and 261 words to finally spell w-i-n-n-e-r.

>> hoffman: beachhead. b-e-a...

>> mott: this year´s county spelling bee became a heavyweight showdown...

>> sharma: icicle. i-c-i...

>> mott: ...overflow crowd on hand, between fifth-grader sophia hoffman and seventh-grader kush sharma, who battled back and forth, word for word, 26 letters their only weapons. the duel started 2 weeks ago, went 66 rounds, and had to be postponed because officials ran out of approved words to challenge them, prompting calls to just send them both to nationals. the rules don´t allow.

>> garcia: last year, we had 21 rounds in the championship bee, so this is way more than we anticipated.

>> mott: their legend, despite their stature, and their friendship quickly grew. and unlike p-o-t-u-s, president of the united states ...

>> president obama: ...when aretha first told us what r-s-p-e-c-t... meant to her...

>> mott: ... sophia and kush sailed through the competition gaffe-free. they breezed through increasingly harder words, like "waywiser," "igneous," "permian," and "muumuu," not to be confused with sounds heard on the farm. but then came a stumble.

>> hoffman: s-t-e-i-f-l-e-i-n.

>> mott: sophia misspelled the word "stifling," which perfectly described the dramatic heat of the moment . with the championship and a trip to washington, d.c., now his for the taking, 13-year-old kush sized up the test and then aced it.

>> sharma: definition. d-e-f-i-n-i-t-i-o-n. definition. i was getting pretty sad when she got that word incorrect. and, you know, it´s sort of messed up, that, you know, that it came to that, you know? but, i mean, it was gonna come to that either way .

>> hoffman: i´m just truly excited that i´ve gotten this far, and every kid that has participated in the bee has done an amazing job. [ applause ]

>> mott: a fierce competition where victory was earned and defeat accepted...

>> sharma: being friends is better than, you know, trash-talking each other.

>> mott: ...with tears and grace. ron mott, nbc n-e-w-s.