An American teenager born and raised in Japan fell short of the semifinals at a prominent U.S. spelling competition Wednesday, but said she was proud to represent her home country.

"I feel so relieved. Now I can relax. I told myself I'd be happy either way," Michaella Bostrom, 14, said after finding herself disqualified in the preliminaries at the 87th Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Asked how she felt about being the sole competitor from Japan, Bostrom said, "I like it actually because I was born and raised there. It's just home and it feels nice to represent it."