JUNIATA — On the inside 12-year-old Ramsey Nitzel was a roiling pot of nerves Wednesday afternoon, but on the outside he coolly knocked out the final two words to win the annual Adams County Spelling Bee at Juniata Elementary.
"I kind of thought I'd get out just because ... I don't know, I was kind of surprised I won," he said.
After second-place finisher Carter Wenburg misspelled "pochismo," Ramsey spelled that word and then "phenomenon" to win the competition.
"I studied a lot, so I wasn't that scared," said Ramsey, a sixth-grader who is home schooled.
Throughout the six-round oral competition, all 20 of the fifth- through eighth-grade finalists from the written portion of the event retained an air of confidence.
"All the kids do well, but I think they get up here and I think being this age level they want to appear that they are composed," spelling bee coordinator Barb Shriver said after the competition.