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HAGERSTOWN -- The number 13 turned out to be lucky for Jessica Swarner during Saturday's 30th annual Washington County Spelling Bee at Western Heights Middle School.
Despite going 13th in the order, the 13-year-old from St. Mary Catholic School won the event among eighth-graders. As a result, she advanced to the Scripps National Spelling Bee May 26 to 28 in Washington, D.C.
Jessica spelled "preemptive" in the eighth round of the spelling bee to defeat her longtime rival, Tristan Prejean of Heritage Academy. Tristan was the winner in his class each of the last two years.
"I didn't know if there was one 'e' or two," Jessica said. "I just took a shot."
Jessica said she had a pocketful of good luck charms heading into the competition.
Among those charms was a necklace that Jessica's father gave her in the fourth grade.
"He was at work and couldn't be here," Jessica said.