Bruce Beuzard IV was searching the internet for information about the exercise program P90X when he fell into an unusual passion.

“I stumbled across an Excel sheet to track all the workouts and nutrition facts,” he said. “The forms were so advanced.”

Beuzard, a D.C. native, has always felt a need to understand complex systems. When he got his first laptop computer at age 14, the first thing he did was take it apart with a screwdriver.

Seeing the sprawling workout spreadsheets unlocked something in his brain, said Beuzard, now 22. He started tinkering with the tools and became enamored with learning Excel tricks.

“I just Google rare functions in Excel that people don’t use,” he said. “There’s a lot that you can do in Excel that a lot of people don’t know about.”

Close to a decade later, that obscure interest paid off in June, when he beat more than 85,000 competitors between the ages of 13 and 22 to win a nationwide Microsoft Excel competition.

This Sunday, he’ll compete against 37 students from around the globe in the Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship in New York City.

Beuzard only found out about the competitions in October. But he’s been training for nearly half his life.

During high school at KIPP DC College Preparatory, Beuzard was recruited to play college football. But he said he rejected the offers because the campuses didn’t offer engineering. He went on to pursue a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at George Washington University.

His journey to national champion status began in the fall while taking classes at the LAYC Career Academy Public Charter School in Northwest D.C. Beuzard took the local version of the national Excel contest, and he won.

At the national competition last month, Beuzard had to re-create an Excel spreadsheet by completing 20 to 30 tasks. He had to know where tools were located and how to operate them.

Afterward, he texted his LAYCCA instructor Abner Soto to say: “Come on, this was too easy.”

Beuzard bested 21 in-person competitors to win the $3,000 grand prize and qualify for the worldwide contest.

Now, he’s training by taking one or two 50-minute practice tests a day — or as he calls it, “tightening your core.” He thinks he has the skills to tackle the competition; now he’s just sharpening his reflexes.

One of Beuzard’s favorite Excel tools is vlookup, which allows users to search for an item in a table by its range or row. Microsoft gives the examples of “look up a price of an automotive part by the part number, or find an employee name based on their employee ID.”

Beuzard recommends looking up tutorials on search engines and YouTube — that’s how he learned, he says.

Soto, in an email, described Beuzard as “the kind of engaged scholar that teachers would love to have filling up their classrooms.”

Whether or not he comes back from New York a worldwide Excel champion, Beuzard will return to the D.C.-based Urban Institute think tank, where he interns as an information technology specialist. He hopes to eventually become a robotics engineer.

“I’m taking apart people’s computers and putting them back together,” Beuzard said. “It’s been really fun.”