Ellen DeGeneres tests skills of spelling bee runner-up - FOX Carolina 21

Ellen DeGeneres tests skills of spelling bee runner-up

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Even though 11-year-old Sophia Hoffman, of Lee's Summit, was named runner-up in the Jackson County Spelling Bee, Ellen DeGeneres wanted to give her a second chance. (Source:The Ellen DeGeneres Show) Even though 11-year-old Sophia Hoffman, of Lee's Summit, was named runner-up in the Jackson County Spelling Bee, Ellen DeGeneres wanted to give her a second chance. (Source:The Ellen DeGeneres Show)
Sophia Hoffman appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Wednesday and put her skills to the test, as she was quizzed against the show's executive producer, Andy Lassner. (Source:The Ellen DeGeneres Show) Sophia Hoffman appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Wednesday and put her skills to the test, as she was quizzed against the show's executive producer, Andy Lassner. (Source:The Ellen DeGeneres Show)
LEE'S SUMMIT, MO (KCTV/AP) -

Even though an 11-year-old Lee's Summit girl was named runner-up in the Jackson County Spelling Bee, Ellen DeGeneres wanted to give her a second chance.

Sophia Hoffman and Kush Sharma made international headlines after battling for a total of 95 rounds. Kush will be representing Jackson County in the national competition.

But DeGeneres didn't forget about Sophia's efforts.

Sophia taped an appearance on the The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which will air Wednesday at 3 p.m. on KCTV5. DeGeneres put Sophia's skills to the test, as she was quizzed against the show's executive producer, Andy Lassner.

The Highland Park Elementary School fifth-grader was part of a marathon spelling bee that had to be scheduled for a second day after they exhausted the initial word list last month.

Spelling bee officials had to extend the contest 29 additional rounds. Sophia, a Lee's Summit School District student, stumbled over the word "stifling."

For more than an hour, Sophia and Kush, a seventh-grader, went toe-to-toe in the continuation of the Jackson County Spelling Bee, which began two weeks ago but had to be extended after the two breezed through the word list provided by the Scripps National Spelling Bee, then 20 more words were picked out of the dictionary.

However, that did not stop her from gaining a new crown on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Sophia spelled all the words correctly, while Lassner did not. DeGeneres gave Sophia a sash that read, "I'm Smarter Than Andy," as well as an iPad.

The end of the Jackson County Spelling Bee brought to a close a whirlwind two weeks for Sophia and Kush, a student at Frontier School of Innovation in Kansas City.

Three days after they finished in a tie on Feb. 22, both of their families were flown to New York to make appearances on CNN and Good Morning America. The two said they had become close friends because of the experience.

"I was pretty sad when she got that word incorrect," said Kush, who now moves on to the National Spelling Bee in Washington, DC, in May. "That's the game, you know? It's going to come down to one person, whether you're friends or not."

Sophia said she was excited that she made it so far in the bee and that she planned to compete again next year. Kush said he, too, would be back, and he wouldn't be surprised if the two dueled even longer next year.

Mark Hoffman, Sophia's father, called his daughter a tough kid who gained a lot from the competition despite the emotionally upsetting conclusion.

"I think it is part of the growth of the kids to learn how to work through disappointment and come out stronger," he said.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.). and the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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