A record total of 16 Loudoun County students have been named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists, up from 14 last year.

Eight of the students attend high school in Loudoun County, and eight are county students who attend Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County.

The high school seniors are among 16,000 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists nationwide. They are the top scorers among 1.3 million students who took the 2003 preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship qualifying test. Semifinalists are the highest-scoring entrants in each state.

The number of semifinalists is proportionate to the state's percentage of the national total of graduating seniors. The highest possible score on the 2003 test was 240. Semifinalists in the District and Maryland needed 222 points. In Virginia, the figure was 219.

This year's Loudoun semifinalists are:

Jennifer Basel, Thomas Jefferson; Lucas Brown, Thomas Jefferson; Martha Brucato, Thomas Jefferson; Zachary Curtis, Loudoun Valley; Matthew Fifer, Thomas Jefferson; Kurt Gallagher, Thomas Jefferson; Anna Gayek, Loudoun County; Matthew Greeson, Loudoun County; Kristin Hawkins, Thomas Jefferson; Curtis Kobelski, Thomas Jefferson; John Maistros, Stone Bridge; Allison Mullins, Park View; Lindsay Reigel, Stone Bridge; Brett Roberts, Potomac Falls; Samuel Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson; and Katherine Schmidt, Stone Bridge.