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Spelling bee finally has W-I-N-N-E-R

A marathon spelling bee finally has a conclusion — after nearly 100 rounds and two weeks of anticipation.

A seventh-grader and fifth-grader exhausted the Jackson County spelling bee's initial word list Feb. 22, forcing another day of competition.

On Saturday, the seventh-grader was declared the winner after his opponent stumbled on "stifling" in the 28th round.

Kush Sharma, who attends a Kansas City charter school, accurately spelled "definition" in the next round to claim the title and move on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May. Lee's Summit fifth-grader Sophia Hoffman took second place.

Sharma and Hoffman were the last two standing last month after 19 rounds. It took them several hours and an additional 47 rounds to force Saturday's deciding event.

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