The sixth-grader out-spelled thirty-seven other middle school finalists in front of a standing-room only crowd at Kettleson Library Wednesday night (1-16-13).
The event was shaping up to be a duel between Fitzgibbon and two-time defending champion Joanna Davis, who was competing in her last bee as an eighth-grader. But Davis took a wrong turn on the word provincial and spelled a similar-sounding word – known as a homonym — instead.
That left Fitzgibbon in contention with seventh-graders Emma Falvey and Whitney McArthur, and eighth-grader Evan Ipock.
But the contenders failed to get by words like demonstrable, opulent, and consistency, leaving Fitzgibbon to spell prominent correctly in the final round, and then spell intuitive for the championship.
The word list for the event is supplied by the official Scripps National Spelling Bee, which contains about 360 entries. The judges for the Blatchley Bee noted that Fitzgibbon won on word #170, which the farthest local spellers have gotten on the list in recent memory.
Fitzgibbon is eligible to represent Sitka at the Alaska State Spelling Bee in Anchorage in March. If she’s unable to attend, judges say they will hold a tie-breaker among the three runners-up to choose another representative.