Neenah’s top fifth grade spellers competed in the 52nd annual city spelling bee on Friday with Kalyan Krueger-Olson of Alliance Charter Elementary taking the title at the Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade.
Krueger-Olson’s winning word was “naturalism” and came in the 24th round. The win came after runner-up Paul Nutini of St. Gabriel School had misspelled “junket.” In the finals, when a word is spelled incorrectly, the other contestant must spell that word correctly and then spell another word correctly to win. Krueger-Olson actually had five previous chances to win after Nutini misspelled a word, but he was also unable to get the correct spelling. Nutini had a chance to win in the 18th round after Krueger-Olson misspelled a word, but he also spelled it incorrectly.
The finals started in the 11th round when Carter Stevenson of New Hope Christian School was knocked out with the word “ravioli.” Six spellers made it past the fourth round as Madelyn Mellenthin of Spring Road Elementary reached the eighth round, Matthew Whitmer of Coolidge Elementary made it to the sixth round and McKenzie Schneider of Trinity Lutheran School advanced to the fifth round. The bee featured the champion from each of Neenah’s 10 public and four parochial schools.
The other competitors were Janae Owens of Hoover Elementary, Calix Arboleda of St. Margaret Mary School, Jakob Schutte of Taft Elementary, Lorelei Kutchek of Roosevelt Elementary, Sophia Paape of Tullar Elementary, Petyon Schilt of Lakeview Elementary, Elijah Hawkins of Wilson Elementary and Lynnea Clark of Clayton Elementary.
Runner-ups from each school’s contest served as alternates. They were Josh Ryan from Alliance, Otto Zoesch-Wiegel from Clayton, Bruce Argall from Coolidge, Marissa Myska from Hoover, Devlan Perkins from Lakeview, Claire Wisniewski from New Hope, Kaitlin Schmidt from Roosevelt, Caleb Youngwerth from Spring Road, Nolan Balensiefen from St. Gabriel, Ellie Dewitt from St. Margaret Mary, Aneka Blenker from Taft, Gabe Kramer from Trinity Lutheran, Lily Meisel from Tullar and Lily Noll from Wilson.