(WWJ) – Two kids from metro Detroit are still in the running to be the C-H-A-M-P at Thursday’s finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Brendan Pawlicki of Shelby Township and Varad Mulay of Novi are among the nearly 300 students who entered this week’s competition. The finals begin 10 a.m.Thursday — with the conclusion by night fall.

Last year’s winners, Jairam Hathwar of Painted Post, N.Y., and Nihar Janga of Houston, fought to a draw after 39 rounds and finally were declared co-champs writes USATODAY.

Afterward, bee officials got feedback from fans, sponsors and other stakeholders on the future of the competition.

“Some people were saying we think co-champions every year is great, don’t change a thing,” Paige Kimble, the bee’s director and the national spelling champion in 1981, told USATODAY. “We had other people who felt strongly that it was not in the best interest of the program to continue to have co-champions. They were encouraging us to put provisions in our rules to make it impossible to have co-champions.”

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