Sixty high school seniors from Southern Arizona have been named 2016 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists.

The students now have the opportunity to compete for 7,400 National Merit scholarships worth more than $32 million.

Of the 16,000 semifinalists nationwide, about 90 percent are expected to attain finalist standing. About half of the finalists will win a scholarship and be named Merit Scholars.

Local students in the running are:

  • Christian E. Schmidt
  • ,
  • Trevor R. Sharp
  • and
  • Anna S. Zeng
  • of Basis Oro Valley
  • Yeahwon Kang
  • of Buena High School in Sierra Vista
  • Moira S. Gidseg
  • of Accelerated Learning Laboratory Secondary School
  • Annika M. Anderson
  • ,
  • Samer A. Awale
  • ,
  • Keshav R. Chandran
  • ,
  • Jayant R. Gopalan
  • ,
  • Rainy C. Michelsen
  • ,
  • Calder I. Miller
  • ,
  • Paige N. Pearcy
  • ,
  • Diviya A. Rajesh
  • ,
  • Cherish A. Richards
  • ,
  • Joseph M. Turner
  • ,
  • Laura A. Walk
  • and
  • James J. Wyeth
  • of Basis Tucson North
  • Sumhith V. Aradhyula
  • ,
  • Vincent H. Bai
  • ,
  • Liam K. Donovan
  • ,
  • Amber M. Fox
  • ,
  • Chloe T. Harwood
  • ,
  • Neil C. Jhaa
  • ,
  • Amy Liu
  • and
  • Lucas A. Petersen
  • of Catalina Foothills High School
  • John R. Martin
  • of Desert Christian High School
  • Christopher Yates
  • of Empire High School
  • Rachel M. Gloudemans
  • and
  • Brian J. Liu
  • of The Gregory School
  • Homeschool students
  • Crystal A. Gillette
  • and
  • Alyssa M. Roat
  • ,
  • Cooper R. Barghols
  • of Pusch Ridge Christian Academy
  • Khalid S. Ahmad
  • and
  • David R. Wang
  • of Sonoran Science Academy
  • Jared G. Bathen
  • ,
  • Ann M. Brunton
  • ,
  • Alan Cheng
  • ,
  • Rachel Dveirin
  • ,
  • Natalie O. Ezeugwu
  • ,
  • Steven D. Fried
  • ,
  • Oshadha V. Gunasekara
  • ,

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  • Katherine Hahn
  • ,
  • Sloan W. Kanaski
  • ,
  • Mary G. Labus
  • ,
  • Alex J. Lehman
  • ,
  • Natalie Leonard
  • ,
  • Josephine M. Maxwell
  • ,
  • Quinn T. McBrayer
  • ,
  • Nicholas H. Mosier
  • ,
  • Brandon K. Olander
  • ,
  • Alexa H. Panrudkevich
  • ,
  • Lauren R. Phillips
  • ,
  • Richard L. Shapley
  • ,
  • Samuel C. Slonaker
  • ,
  • Jayasangeetha Thanikachalam
  • ,
  • Christine L. Toering
  • ,
  • Joyce C. Wang
  • ,
  • Julia S. Weidman
  • and
  • Nathaniel J. Whitthorne
  • of University High School.
  • Jeung S. Park
  • of Cienega High School

Students were screened based on their performance on the 2014 Preliminary SAT, with the highest scoring entrants in each state being named semifinalists.

To become one of about 15,000 finalists, students will submit information about their academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment and honors and awards received. They must also write an essay and earn SAT scores that confirm the performance on the preliminary test.

Scholarship winners will be selected based on their skills, accomplishments and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

There are three types of National Merit scholarships: 2,500 National Merit $2,500 scholarships awards; 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit scholarships; and 3,900 college-sponsored Merit scholarships.

Winners will be announced April through July.

Contact reporter Alexis Huicochea at ahuicochea@tucson.com or 573-4175. On Twitter: @AlexisHuicochea