Marshall Middle School’s Gunn takes first in regional spelling bee

Submitted photo Rachel Pixler, Melody Filzen, Peighton Dandurand, Jack Gunn and Gavin Starr were the top four winners and alternate.

The Southwest West Central Service Cooperative’s Regional Spelling Bee took place Feb. 5 at the Redwood Area Community Center in Redwood Falls.

Thirty-two students from 26 districts, who won at their local level, came together to compete for the top four places that advance to the Multi-Region State Spelling Bee. Scores from the written and oral rounds were combined in order to determine the top 15 students who compete in the afternoon spelldown.

Because of tied scores, there were 17 spellers, who competed in the spelldown, said Andrea Anderson, student activities coordinator.

“Brooklyn (Schmidt), Gavin (Star) and Melody (Filzen) battled it out for fourth and fifth place,” Anderson said.

“Then Jack and Peighton battled for first and second place. It was an exciting day with challenging words. After 16 rounds, we declared our top four students who will advance to the Multi-Region State Spelling Bee on Feb. 19 in Fergus Falls. The winner from the State Bee will then go on to the National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C.”


First Place: Jack Gunn – 6 – Marshall Middle School

Second Place: Peighton Dandurand – 6 – Central Minnesota Christian School

Third place: Rachel Pixler – 6 – Glencoe Silver Lake Lincoln Jr High – First Lutheran

Fourth place: Gavin Starr – 8 – Lester Prairie High

Alternate: Melody Filzen – 8 – Renville County West

Area participants were: Brittany Hentges, 8, Canby Public School; Audrey Hentges, 6, Canby St. Peter’s Catholic School; Grace LaVoy, 7, Lake Benton Public School, Lakeview Public School; Abby Panka, 8, Marshall Holy Redeemer School; Cairo Saad El-Dein, 8, Marshall Middle School;

Cora Fischer, 7, Minneota Public School; Elizabeth Engelkes, 6, Murray County Central Elementary and High School; Tanner Graphenteen, 8, Murray County Central Elementary and High School; Adyson Fischer, 6,

Samuel Lutheran School; Shayna Huhnerkoch, 7, Wabasso Public School; Kian Christianson, 6,

Yellow Medicine East Bert Raney Elem. and Junior High School; Jesse Petrich, 7, Yellow Medicine East Bert Raney Elem. and Junior High School.

The bee was judged by Anderson, Tom Hoff and Laurie Fales. Pronouncer was Helen Langer