Varun Kukkillaya and Lauren Volk are good spellers. The two 7th graders at John Adams and Andrew Jackson middle schools, respectively, dueled for 72 rounds without misspelling a word in the Kanawha County Spelling Bee last week.
The result: the first ever tie in the county's bee. The draw at the end began four hours earlier, reported the Gazette-Mail's Shay Maunz, with 62 spellers from schools across the county.
One by one they approached the microphone and were given a word. After spelling it, they walked away eyeing the four judges, waiting for the fateful sound of a bell, the signal that they'd misspelled the word.
Thirty-eight kids heard the bell in the first round. The field was further winnowed down to those two over the next ten rounds -- then they alone continued it for 70 more rounds.Both Kukkillaya and Volk will go on to compete in the 2014 Gazette-Mail Regional Spelling Bee on March 22 at Capital High School.