D-A-N-S-A-N-T Spells Disaster for Local Champ

San Diego County eighth-grader Alex Wells has been eliminated after misspelling "dansant" in the semifinals. Earlier in the morning, he made it through the first round of the semifinals in the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., after spelling 'kinetosis' correctly.

Wells, a student at Standley Middle School, won the countywide spelling bee in March. He is one of 41 spellers who competed in the semifinals Thursday.

Wells joined the annual competition on Tuesday after completing a 50-word test on a computer keyboard. Apart from being a spelling whiz, Wells is also an accomplished musician who plays the bassoon, piano and clarinet. He also composes symphony and chamber music and is drum major of his school's marching band. Wells also loves to read and his favorite sport is basketball. He hopes to one day become a composer and symphony conductor.

The champion will receive a $30,000 cash prize and a trophy. Last year, Sameer Mishra of Indiana won after he correctly spelled the word 'guerdon' in round 16.

And you probably remember another San Diegan, Poway native Anurag Kashyap, who won in 2005. He is the only Southern California resident to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Kashyap also went on to win the Jeopardy! Teen Tournament last year.

The semifinals will continue until 1 p.m. on ESPN and then the finals will air on ABC at 8 p.m.

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