The large screens flanking the massive stage upon which the competitors await their turn barely had time to show Lauren's name before she had spelled her word.
When she knows a word, she knows: while some spellers ask for the definition or origin of a word every time, Lauren just wants to spell.
"I do that on some of them, that like I know but I just want to make sure it's the one I'm thinking of," she said.
Her pattern was the same in the second oral round. She spelled "fuguist" with no delay, spending little time savoring what would be her final moment at the microphone on the big stage.
Wednesday was the first day Lauren admitted to being a little nervous. She was one of the last spellers to take to the microphone in both rounds so there was plenty of time to dwell on the competition.
"I was worried," her mother said after one oral round. "I was hoping she would get a word she knew. I knew she knew all of them, but sometimes when you're nervous, you missspell."
Lauren never revealed her nervousness. Nor did she show any outward signs of dismay that she may have felt after failing to advance.
"I mean, this is the creme de la creme," her mother said of the 280 competitors from all over the United States and its territories. "You can't complain really."
This was Lauren's 20th bee and, because she just finished eighth grade, the last time she could compete.
Before the bee started, her dad promised her a special treat when her competitive spelling career came to a close.
"Whenever we get to that point, we'll buy a steak. She enjoys that; she loves steaks," he said.
The family is considering a trip to Mount Vernon today but definitely plans to be back in National Harbor to see the end of the competition this evening.
Lauren's appearance in the national bee is sponsored by the Gazette-Mail, the West Virginia Automobile and Truck Dealers Association and the College Foundation of West Virginia, or cfwv.com.
In addition to the all-expense-paid trip to the nation's capital, she won a $2,500 college savings account from the state treasurer's SMART529 program.
Lauren said she wanted to thank the sponsors for their support and to wish the remaining spellers good luck.
The semifinal round starts at 2 p.m. Thursday and will air live on ESPN2. The championship will start about 8 p.m. and air live on ESPN.
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