TODAY | March 09, 2014
>> reporter: in kansas city it was a showdown that lived up to its billing. this one corner, seventh grader kush sharma. in the other fifth grader sophia hoffman. in the end a 95-round bout that finally ended saturday after a marathon session two weeks ago when officials ran out of words. 261 words used in all before a winner was declared. sophia and kush breathed through challenging words. then came a stumble.
>> s-t-e, i- --
>> sophia misspelled the word stifling. s-t-i-f-l-i-n-g.
>> i'm excited i've gotten this far.
>> with the championship and a trip to nationals in washington, d.c. now for the taking. 13-year-old kush sized up the test and then aced it. d-e-f-i-n-i-t-i-o-n, definition.
>> i was getting pretty sad when she got that word incorrect. it sort of messed up that it came to that. it was going to come to that either way. that's how the spelling bee is.
>> reporter: a fierce competition from foes became friends and victory was earned and defeat accepted.
>> being friends is better than trash talking each other with tears and grace. for "today" ron mott, nbc news.