Lucas Urbanski in spelling bee semifinals

Local champ hoping to advance to Thursday’s championship round

Two words are all that stand between 14-year-old Lucas Urbanski and the Scripps National Spelling Bee finals Thursday.

Urbanski, the four-time reigning McHenry County spelling bee champion, has to clear the semifinals Thursday morning.

12:20 p.m. update: Urbanski was not selected for the finals despite spelling two words correctly.

11:15 a.m. update: Urbanski correctly spelled "epixylous" (growing on wood) in Round 6 of the semifinals. He now awaits the end of the round and the announcement of the finalists.

9:30 a.m. update: Urbanski correctly spelled "cataphora" in Round 5 of the semifinals, his first word of the day. "Cataphora" is the use of a grammatical substitute (such as a pronoun) that has the same reference as a following word or phrase.

He has two rounds of one word each to spell correctly – if he scored adequately on a written exam he took Wednesday evening, he goes to the championship round Thursday evening.

“I feel pretty good about that last test, but I still have to spell my words right tomorrow,” Urbanski said after taking the exam.

Urbanski clinched a spot in the semifinals Wednesday by properly spelling “gymkhana” and “Yinglish.”

To save you a trip to the dictionary, “gymkhana” is a Hindustani word for a location where athletic contests are held, or the contests themselves.

“Yinglish,” a portmanteau of “Yiddish English,” refers to Yiddish words that have made their way into colloquial English.

The semifinals will be broadcast from 9 a.m. to noon on ESPN2.

Finalists will be announced immediately after the semifinals, and the championship finals will be broadcast from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday on ESPN.

The spelling bee is being held in National Harbor, Maryland.

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