Navneeth Murali, speller 291 and last year's fifth place finisher is out.
The New Jersey seventh grader misspelled "ischiocerite,"a joint of the antenna of a crustacean.
He correctly spelled bombycine, eolienne, chechia, Verstehen, marmennill, haustellum, omphacite and Beira, among other words.
"As always, there's an element of luck," Navneeth said. "I was extremely relieved I made it to finals. I'm extremely happy."
Listeng to Indian classical music makes Navneeth feel calm. But he really likes the competitive nature of spelling bees -- as well as the friends.
There were some nerves tonight, though.
"Many of the people last year, including me, improved a lot," he said.