The Armuchee Middle student placed first in Fridays competition at the countys central office against 10 other county elementary and middle schoolers who had won the honor of representing their schools at the systemwide bee.
Although it had been a few years, seventh-grader Abby was a returning champion. She won the county competition in the fourth grade.
Ive just always been really good at spelling, she said, shrugging when asked the source of her spelling prowess.
It wasnt an easy or short battle. It took 19 rounds of hesitant spelling, requests for definitions and red or green cards from the judges to narrow the competition down to Abby and first runner-up, eighth-grade Pepperell Middle School student Will Farrer.
Even then the competition was far from winding down. The two continued on for more than 20 additional rounds both misspelling bigotry, postmortem and unerringly as they battled for the top place.
Once the competition is narrowed down to two finalists, the other speller must correctly spell the word that their competitor misses before spelling the final word for the win. If both misspell the same word, the competition continues.
It was nerve-wracking, Abby said.
The word that finally stumped Will was pheasant. After correctly spelling the word, Abby went on to spell ogre for the win.
It was actually an easier final puzzler than her daughter faced for her win in the fourth grade haiku, said Abbys mother, Debora Monteith.
Will also had some spelling history on his side. His older brother Alex competed in the county competition in the fourth and eighth grades.
Wills carrying on the tradition, said his mother Carol Farrer, who came to watch the competition with her son Alex.
Abby will go on to participate in the district spelling bee at the Floyd County Schools central office at 10 a.m. Feb. 25. Will is her alternate. East Centrals Austin Beacham, who won Rome Citys bee Tuesday, will represent the city at the district bee, and West Ends Austin Hutchinson will serve as his alternate.