ABC News

Epic Spellers Cause Spelling Bee to Run Out of Words

ABC News Blogs

ABC News Videos

Meet The Kids Who Competed Until Spelling Bee Ran Out of Words

Meet The Kids Who Competed Until Spelling Bee Ran Out of Words

Meet The Kids Who Competed Until Spelling Bee Ran Out of Words

Now watching

Next video starts in : 7 Play

Meet The Kids Who Competed Until Spelling Bee Ran Out of Words

Meet The Kids Who Competed Until Spelling Bee Ran Out of Words
Replay video
Up next

Spelling Bee Runs Out of Words

Spelling Bee Runs Out of Words Up next

Spelling Bee Runs Out of Words

How do you spell a spelling bee that goes 66 rounds in more than four hours and causes the organizers to run out of words?

The answer is T-I-E, for now.

Sophia Hoffman, a fifth-grader at Highland Park Elementary School in the Kansas City suburb of Lee's Summit, and Kush Sharma, a seventh-grader at Frontier School of Innovation in Kansas City, will face-off again next month after the two left organizers of the Jackson County Spelling Bee flummoxed.

"We have a list that was provided by Scripps and we got to the end of that list of words and we had pre-selected words from the dictionary just in case and we got through that list," Mary Olive Thompson, a library outreach manager and co-coordinator of the spelling bee, told

"We had gone four hours and officials prefer to have a pre-selected list rather than just picking words from dictionary so we decided to continue on March 8 and that would allow us to pick more words," she said.

Sophia and Kush began the spelling bee Saturday morning with 23 other competitors. By 11 a.m. and 20 rounds in, when organizers expected the competition to be wrapping up, the two were the only ones left standing.

For the next 46 rounds, Sophia and Kush went word-for-word, literally, until organizers pulled the plug.

"I think they were impressed with themselves too," said Thompson. "They were smiling and seem pleased like, 'They've had to pull out the dictionary for us.'"

Despite the high stakes - the pair are competing for a ticket to Washington, D.C. in May for the Scripps National Spelling Bee - and the cutthroat competition of spelling bees portrayed in movies, Thompson says Sophia and Kush were rooting each other on and keeping the energy of the dwindling crowd going strong.

"They were saying 'good job' and giving each other high fives," she said. "I've done the spelling bee for three years and what warms my heart every year is the support that the spellers have for each other."

The spell-off will be held on March 8, according to Thompson.

The format will again be rounds, with each speller getting one word per round. If the word is misspelled, the other speller will have to spell an additional word correctly. If that word is misspelled, then they start over with another round.

The winner will be named the Jackson County Spelling Bee champ.

View Comments (315)

Recommended for You

  • British grandmother prepares for execution in Indonesia

    A British grandmother on death row in Indonesia is writing goodbye letters to her family and believes she could be executed at any time, she wrote in an article on Sunday. Lindsay Sandiford, 58, said she was expecting to die shortly, after seven foreign drug convicts were executed last week,…

  • Vonn says relationship with Woods is over

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are no longer a power couple in American sports.

    Associated Press
  • With rescue near, Boko Haram stoned Nigerian girls to death

    YOLA, Nigeria (AP) — Even with the crackle of gunfire signaling rescuers were near, the horrors did not end: Boko Haram fighters stoned captives to death, some girls and women were crushed by an armored car and three died when a land mine exploded as they walked to freedom.

    Associated Press
  • ‘It Was Never a Dress’ Ingeniously Updates Women’s Room Symbol

    Flipping the dress idea on its head, an Arizona tech company, Axosoft, debuted its newly designed bathroom symbol at Arizona’s Girls in Tech Conference this week. Girls and women interested in science, technology, engineering, and math are an underrepresented minority, with women making up less…
  • Philippine rebels kill most wanted Islamist militant in south

    The Philippines' most wanted Islamist militant, who escaped after a raid in January that killed 44 police commandos, was killed on Sunday in firefight with Muslim rebels, officials said. Protracted police operations to arrest three Islamist high-value targets had become the biggest political crisis…

  • Police: Man shoots, kills would-be carjacker outside store

    OREM, Utah (AP) — A shopper with a concealed weapons permit shot and killed a man who was trying to carjack a woman Saturday outside a Utah grocery store, officers said.

    Associated Press
  • World kept guessing over name of Britain's baby princess

    Royal watchers around the world waited to discover the name of the two-day-old British princess born to Prince William and his wife Kate, which could be announced on Monday. The couple left hospital with their newborn daughter on Sunday -- and when their toddler son George was born in 2013 his name…

  • US defends cluster bomb transfers

    The United States defended its supplies of cluster munitions Sunday, pointing to restrictions on the transfers, after Human Rights Watch said the bombs had been used by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. HRW said it had gathered photographs, video and other evidence indicating that cluster munitions…

  • Baltimore cops charged in Freddie Gray death: What do police think?

    The police officer had just shot and killed an unarmed minority suspect who had been trying to flee. Officer Grant Morrison walks away from the scene of the shooting, his head in his hand, reaches the side of his colleague's cruiser, and collapses, sobbing uncontrollably. The actions of a Billings,…

    Christian Science Monitor
  • Waves along California force cruise ship to change course

    SAN DIEGO (AP) — Big waves along the Southern California coast on Sunday forced a cruise ship to change course and led to at least 16 rescues, authorities said.

    Associated Press
  • Cable, pay-per-view problems leave viewers fighting mad

    NEW YORK (AP) — For some boxing fans, the big fight Saturday night turned out to be between them and their cable companies.

    Associated Press
  • For a Day, ‘Dad Bods’ Made Us Obsess Over Men’s Bodies Like We Do Women’s

    Victoria’s Secret even went so far as to propose the “perfect body,” which it retracted after protests. The phrase has long circulated on college campuses, but Clemson University sophomore Mackenzie Pearson took it mainstream when she wrote in a recent essay for The Odyssey: “The dad bod is a nice…
  • Milwaukee Brewers fire manager Ron Roenicke

    MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Milwaukee Brewers fired manager Ron Roenicke on Sunday night, hours after their 5-3 victory over the Cubs in Chicago.

    Associated Press49 mins ago
  • Woman, toddler killed when car hits apartment complex

    LIVERMORE, Calif. (AP) — A car driven by a suspected drunken driver crashed into a Northern California apartment complex, killing a woman and her toddler and slightly injuring two other children as they all walked together outside, police said Sunday.

    Associated Press
  • Play

    Suspect formally charged after NYPD officer shot in face in Queens

    A police officer shot in the head while attempting to stop a man suspected of carrying a handgun is hospitalized in a medically-induced coma on Sunday and a suspect was formally charged in the case, the fifth shooting of a New York City officer in as many months, officials said.

    KFSN – Fresno
  • William and Kate eschew crowns for life with nappies

    The eyes of the world have again turned on Queen Elizabeth's grandson and his wife, officially known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, with the birth of their second child, a girl. Millions of people across the world tuned in to watch their sumptuous wedding in 2011 while the birth of Prince…

  • Shadow of Saddam lives on in Iraq

    Dozens of Iraqis crowding a Baghdad street fought to glimpse the red-haired man in a glass coffin, hoping to witness the end of a long-feared member of Saddam Hussein's regime. The furore over the dead man -- who might be Saddam's deputy Izzat al-Duri, though his identity has still not been…

  • View

    NYPD officer shooting (9 photos)

    A man accused of shooting a New York City police officer in the head will be arraigned Sunday on charges including two counts of attempted murder of a police officer, officials said.Demetrius Blackwell was arrested Saturday night in the shooting of Officer Brian Moore, who remained hospitalized in…

    Yahoo News