A Cape Elizabeth boy’s shot at winning the national spelling bee fell short Wednesday.

Nat Jordan, a 12-year-old student at Cape Elizabeth Middle School, scored 21 — his total from a computer-based written test and an onstage oral exam in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

His father, Glenn Jordan, a news and sports writer for The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, said the 50 students who qualified for today’s semifinals scored 23 or higher, so his son missed the cut.

Nat correctly spelled 15 of 25 words on the computer test and correctly spelled the two words posed to him during his onstage appearance: “jimberjawed” and “proaulion.”

“I’m feeling pretty relaxed,” Nat said Wednesday night. “I really didn’t think I’d make the semifinals.”

Jordan, whose sister, Lily, won the Maine title twice and tied for 10th place in the national bee last year, vowed to return next year.

His twin brother, Jacob, also has competed in local spelling bees.

Glenn Jordan said Nat will appear on national television tonight during the final round.

One speller from each state has been invited to sit onstage during the finals, which will be broadcast on ESPN.

“Nat will be wearing a green polo shirt and state of Maine pin,” his father said.

Jordan said Vanya Shivashankar of Olathe, Kansas, got a perfect score of 31 in Wednesday’s preliminary tests. The fifth-grader’s sister, Kavya, won the 2009 national spelling bee.

According to the Scripps National Spelling Bee website, 278 students from across the country were invited to compete in the Washington, D.C. area.

Nat Jordan is one of two Maine students who made the trip.

The other was eighth-grader Caitlin Hillery of Glenburn. She did not reach the semifinals.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

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