The National Merit Scholarship Program announced its 2014 semi-finalists, 49 of the approximately 16,000 of which are from Utah. Of those 149, five are from Park City.

Michaela B. Webb, a senior at the Winter Sports School and among one of that elite group. Four Park City High School (PCHS) students Luke C. Adams, Eleanor M. Burton, Devon Dunmire and Zachary R. Laufer were also named semi-finalists.

The students took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) and their scores are in the top one-third across the country.

PCHS Principal Bob O'Connor announced that Heather Cummings and Eleanor Johnston also took the test and were named Commended Students. They will not continue in the 2014 competition for the National Merit Scholarship awards but placed among the top 5 percent of more than 1.5 million students who took the test.

According to the National Merit Scholarship website, to participate in the program, a student must take the PSAT/NMSQT no later than the third year in grades 9-12, be enrolled as a high school student and be a citizen of the United States.

Webb is in her third year at the Winter Sports School and is scheduled to graduate on Friday, Nov. 22, at the Utah Olympic Park. She is currently the Vice President of the Winter Sports School Student Council and hopes to attend either Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vt. or Pomona College in Claremont, Calif.

Webb said she took the PSAT/NMSQT because it was required at school, and now that she is an NMS semi-finalist and is looking forward to the opportunities it will create for her when it comes to applying to college.

"Middlebury has really good language and study abroad programs, and I think it would be cool to take classes taught by Bill McKibben, an environmental activist and journalist," Webb said. "Pomona is just a great all-around liberal arts school, and it's in a good location for climbing; I'm really into climbing right now."

According to Dave Kaufman, Head of the Winter Sports School, Webb first enrolled as a sophomore and was a Nordic skier. After what he called a "grueling injury," Webb had to stop skiing and has taken up climbing.

Webb is currently the Vice President of the Winter Sports School student council and recently organized a 5k for the United Nations World Food Programme. She is now helping to organize the school's first annual "Bingo Bash" from 6:30 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12, which will help raise funds for the school itself.

Until then, Webb is continuing her studies, preparing for graduation and hoping for the best when it comes to the National Merit Scholarship.

"It definitely opens up some good opportunities college-wise," Webb said. "I know some schools will give partial scholarships or full rides to National Merit semi-finalists and finalists, so that's good."