Logan Karlen, a seventh-grader at Elsinore Middle School, finished second, successfully spelling paraphernalia in the third round of a spell-off for the runner-up spot.
Logan, 12, who finished second in the Lake Elsinore Unified School District two years ago, is happy that Kendra won't be eligible next year, giving him a better opportunity to win.
"Until Kendra got here, I thought I had a pretty good chance," Logan said. "Still, I thought I had a chance, but she's the cream of the crop."
Logan said he prepared by studying the word list with his mother, who he said is the biggest reason for his success.
He was tripped up of "gnosis," an esoteric knowledge of spiritual truth held by the ancient Gnostics to be essential to salvation."