Fourteen Sonoma County seniors have been named National Merit Scholar semifinalists, according to the Illinois-based not-for-profit organization.

Napa County had three students named to the list, and Mendocino County had one.

Maria Carrillo High School in Santa Rosa had the largest showing of any North Coast school with six.

"It's a very bright group of students," said Maria Carrillo Principal Rand Van Dyke. "Last year the county office (of education) recognized all of our semifinalists. I'm looking forward to them doing that again."

About 90 percent of the 16,000 semifinalists are expected to advance to become finalists in the national award that recognizes students based on results from Preliminary SATs taken last spring.

To become finalists, students must submit a letter of recommendation from their principals, maintain strong academics and earn SAT scores that confirm the qualifying score. Finalists are announced in the spring.

Finalists can compete for approximately 8,000 scholarships worth about $35 million, according to the organization.

Sonoma County's National Merit Scholar semifinalists are:

Erika Chang-Sing, Maria Carrillo High School

Manjari Daniel, Cardinal Newman High School

Carrie Gao, Montgomery High School

Ankur Goswami, Maria Carrillo High School

Felix Herbst, Santa Rosa High School

Daniel John Jones, Casa Grande High School

Michael King, Maria Carrillo High School

Kyle Lin, Maria Carrillo High School

Maya Morales, Maria Carrillo High School

Alex Nhan, Rincon Valley Christian School

Caroline Schlutius, Analy High School

Tori Severs, Redwood Adventist Academy

Cliff Tai, Maria Carrillo High School

Esther Unti, Healdsburg High School

Mendocino County's National Merit Scholar semifinalist is:

Savannah Whaley, Fort Bragg High School

Napa County's National Merit Scholar semifinalists are:

Gabrielle Danzeisen, Justin Siena High School

Amelia Hardy, Justin Siena High School

Albert Morgese, Justin Siena High School

<i>Staff Writer Kerry Benefield writes an education blog at She can be reached at 526-8671, kerry.benefield@press or on Twitter @benefield.</i>