Simola Nayak, 13, is an eighth-grader at Henderson Middle School.
Simola moved to the second round Wednesday afternoon for spelling the word "habile," which means skillful.
Simola said competing against other master spellers brings a mix of fear and excitement.
"When you're waiting for that word, you're thinking, 'Oh my gosh, what word am I going to get? Is it going to be hard? Is it going to be easy? Blah, blah, blah,' and then a rush of thoughts," Simola said.
Simola found out Wednesday night she made it to the semifinals.
The competition is being held in Oxon Hill, Md., just outside Washington, D.C.