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EL PASO -- Don't feel bad if you can't spell "hemerocallis" or "hoomalimali" -- most people probably can't.

Abigail Spitzer can.

Abigail became El Paso's 66th spelling champion, and its first home-schooled winner, in the El Paso Times Spelling Bee on Friday.

The sixth-grader will represent El Paso at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C.

Abigail beat 29 other finalists from the 175 elementary and middle- school students who competed for the grand prize, which includes an expenses-paid trip for the national competition and a year's supply of milk and ice cream from Price's Creameries.

Although Abigail says she began studying for the bee in September with the help of her father, she had never come across the word that decided her fate: "redact."

"I'd never seen it before, so I just went with my instinct," said Abigail, 11.

Her instinct was correct, and after a night of celebration with her family and plenty of ice cream, Abigail will begin preparing for the national spelling bee in June.

"I'm going to study the word roots of all kinds of languages," Abigail said, while holding a trophy almost as tall as she is. "I've studied a little Latin, so that helps."

Abigail is among the youngest students to win the spelling bee. The contest is open to students younger than 15, and winners are generally seventh- or eighth-graders. But all three finalists in this year's competition were in grades below the seventh, and fourth-grader Derek Olivas of Hart Elementary made it to sixth place.

First runner-up Julian Najera, 10, is a fifth-grader at Barron Elementary. Julian misspelled "benthic," a word that means the organisms that live at the bottom of a body of water in his second round against Abigail.

"I'm just glad I won the trophy and the ice cream," Julian said, smiling. "I've been the spelling bee winner at my school for the last five years, and I'm going to keep competing as long as I can."

Lilia Taylor, a sixth-grader at Mesilla Valley Christian Center, became the second runner-up after misspelling "senescence" in the 10th round.

Lilia, Abigail and Julian competed against one another in four rounds before Lilia was eliminated.

The students prepared for the spelling bee by studying a guidebook issued by the national bee. Students who make it to the finals are quizzed on words that come from a special list provided only to the pronouncer and judges.

"The students have to study the dictionary, too," spelling bee coordinator Mona Pacheco said. "This year was hard -- there were a lot more foreign words given -- but the students also seemed to be better prepared."

The students were quizzed on words such as "balalaika," which is a Russian musical instrument, and "gesundheit," a German word used to wish someone good health after a sneeze.

Four champions of the El Paso spelling bee have gone on to win the national spelling bee since the event was created in 1925. Richard Earnhart was the first El Pasoan to win the national competition in 1942, at the same age Abigail Spitzer is now: 11 years old.