SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – Rutvik Gandhasri of San Jose finished in sixth place at the Scripps National Spelling Bee competition, but will be eligible to return to compete next year.

The 7th grader at Chaboya Middle School was one of ten students that advanced to the primetime session that aired on national TV on Thursday night. Rutvik spelled his first words in the evening competition correctly.

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Rutvik was one of six remaining competitors when he misspelled the Middle English word betony, which is a Eurasian plant of the mint family that bears spikes of purple flowers.

To get to the National Spelling Bee, Rutvik won the CBS Bay Area Spelling Bee held in March, besting 48 other local students.

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Another Northern California student, 13-year-old Snehaa Kumar of Folsom, finished third.

For the third straight year, the bee ended in a tie, with 13-year-old Jairam Hathwar of New York and 11-year-old Nihar Janga of Texas declared co-champions. The pair won despite organizers changing the rules this year to make the competition harder.

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Organizers said there were 285 students from across the country that took part in this year’s bee.