Crown Him C-H-A-M-P-I-O-N: Kush Sharma wins Jackson County bee - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Crown Him C-H-A-M-P-I-O-N: Kush Sharma wins Jackson County bee

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Sophia Hoffman and Kush Sharma back on Feb. 22. Sophia Hoffman and Kush Sharma back on Feb. 22.
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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

After 95 rounds and nearly six hours of competition, spilling into an extraordinary overtime that drew worldwide media attention, Kush Sharma emerged Saturday as champion of the Jackson County Spelling Bee.

The seventh-grader from Kansas City's Frontier School of Innovation carefully spelled out "definition" - the 57th word of the day and 261st of the championship bee - to nail down the title and a berth in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., in May. Runner-up Sophia Hoffman gave him an opening moments earlier, missing on "stifling." She appeared to mishear the pronunciation and spelled it s-t-e-i-f-l-e-i-n, but an appeal was unsuccessful.

Sharma, starting a new round, then stepped to the microphone and drew a breath. Per his routine, he asked for the definition of what would be the bee's final word, its origin, use in a sentence, and part of speech. He mimed writing it in the palm of his hand, and calmly spelled it.

It ended a duel that was suspended two weeks earlier when bee officials famously exhausted their supply of words. News of the stalemate went national, then global, picked up by media outlets as far away as India, Pakistan and Australia.

Saturday's spell-off in the Kansas City Public Library's downtown Central Library drew television crews from NBC's Today and Inside Edition.

While the spellers faced off in front of family members, other invited guests, and reporters in the upstairs Helzberg Auditorium, some 70 spectators followed the contest via live-streaming on a projection screen in Central's main floor Kirk Hall.

After surviving 66 rounds Feb. 22 - the last 47 head to head - the two finalists battled through 29 rounds in Helzberg. The 13-year-old Sharma sailed through such words as "waywiser," "grabble," and "igneous." Hoffman, 11, correctly spelled "Permian," "belladonna," and "muumuu," among others.

Sharma, who says he aspires to be a heart surgeon, will join some 280 other qualifiers in the 2014 Scripps national bee in Washington, held May 25-31.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved. Courtney Lewis and the Kansas City Public Library contributed to this report.

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