Siyona Mishra, speller 205 - who tied for ninth place last year - is out.
The Florida eighth grader misspelled Corriedale, a member of a breed of rather large usually hornless sheep developed in New Zealand from several different breeds.
Before the Finals, Siyona said she was "really excited" to make is back to the Bee.
"I can't wait," she said. "I just tried to stay calm so I wouldn't blurt out any random letters."
The best part of coming back, she said, is spending time with friends she's made before - and meeting new ones. She was wearing a good-luck bee pin on stage.
Siyona said she'd tell other aspiring spellers that hard work pays off.
"When you're on stage, focus on your word and just be calm," she said.