NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland – Fort Worth eighth grader Will Lourcey aced the spelling of “fallacy” and “Ruritanian” on Wednesday, but that was not enough for him to advance to the finals of the annual Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Lourcey, 14, is a student at Trinity Valley School and said he was proud to be at the bee.

“This is what I’ve wanted to do for a long time, just to arrive in D.C., meet all these kids, see some sights and spell some words,” he said.

Lourcey was one of 291 participants in the preliminary rounds, and one of 188 who made it through the two on-stage rounds on Wednesday. He and 139 others who spelled their words correctly were eliminated based on the results of a written spelling and vocabulary test they took on Tuesday, making way for 40 finalists who will compete for the national title at the Gaylord National Resort on Thursday.

Lourcey, who just graduated from the eighth grade, said he prepared for the bee by reading the list of 400 words that would be used in the preliminary rounds, but didn’t spend hours and hours with a dictionary and other preparation aids.

“Every speller was given a list of 400 words that they could choose to study,” he said. “I glanced at it and looked at it once or twice, but I’m not as hard-core into the competitive sport as some kids are. Some kids, this is their entire life, and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

Spelling is important for all students because it helps get good scores on college entrance exams, helps in learning foreign languages and expands vocabularies, he said.

“I also love to spell because it’s a great way to travel, a great way to meet people, and it’s just very enriching.”

Lourcey hopes one day to become a foreign service officer.

“I think it would be great to work with foreign dignitaries to help with relations between the U.S. and foreign nations,” he said, “and just a great way to travel, and to make a difference.”

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