Washington, D.C. (KROC-AM News) - A Rochester teenager is among the 40 spellers chosen to advance to the finals in the 2017 Scripp’s National Spelling Bee.

14-year-old Thomas York, and 8th grader at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School in Rochester, survived the preliminary rounds of the prestigious competition, which were held Tuesday and Wednesday in Washington D.C. 291 students from throughout the country, including 5 others from Minnesota, started in the preliminary competition, which included two rounds of spelling, vocabulary tests and a written exam.

York, who is sponsored by the Southeast Service Cooperative, correctly spelled radiolarian and taxonomic to advance. He was the only Minnesota speller to reach the minimum score of 29 needed to reach the finals, which will begin at 9 a.m. Thursday and will be broadcast live on ESPN2.

The grand prize awarded to the champion of the Spelling Bee is $40,000.

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