Terrell said she thought the experience was fun, but challenging.
“I was comfortable at the beginning and not too nervous,” Terrell said, “but then the words got tougher quickly.”
Terrell’s parents, Carolina and Michael Terrell, expressed great pride after the competition.
“She did a great job and she’s still a winner,” Carolina Terrell said. “We’re proud of her no matter what.”
Oneonta’s own Buddy Noorlander, an eighth-grader, said it felt “good” to win, although he was hoping that his younger sister, Mary, could have made it to the regional bee instead of him.
“We’re competitive,” Noorlander said, “so we both entered. I beat her, but I actually wanted her to win.”
Noorlander, who casually tapped his hands against his blue jeans while breezing through words like “discipline,” “malaria,” “graffiti,” “herbivore” and “wiseacre,” , wasn’t planning on entering, according to his father, Danny Noorlander. Noorlander, a history professor at SUNY Oneonta, said Buddy was recruited a couple days before Oneonta’s school-wide bee because of a lack of participation.
“His sister, Mary, is in sixth grade,” Noorlander said, “and she actually prepared a lot more than Buddy did. I guess being such a big reader has helped him learn to figure out how to spell things.”
Winner Buddy Noorlander, who narrowly outlasted Edmeston Central School’s Alexander Babbie, said he thought the words at the end of the competition were tough. The winning word was “automaton,” meaning a self-operating machine, and Noorlander spelled it with ease.
After pausing to replay the recording of Noorlander’s spelling to make sure there were no mistakes, judges announced that he was the winner. When The Daily Star’s publisher Mitchell Lynch, who hosted the spelling bee, asked him what most excited him about his prize, an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington D.C. to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, Noorlander replied, “The hotel!”