As easy as 1-2-3: D51 dominates Knowledge Bowl

Grand Junction, Palisade and Fruita Monument high schools placed first, second and third, respectively, at the Colorado State Knowledge Bowl competition April 21 and 22.

The win was Grand Junction High School’s 15th at the state contest in 16 years.

The team’s performance this season plus the state win helped the school secure a trip to the National Academic Quiz Tournaments High School National Championship Tournament on May 27 to 29 in Atlanta.

Grand Junction High seniors Jessica Don, Parker Hegstrom, Jake Meyer, Ben Peterson, Emma Reives and Patrick Thornton, as well as juniors Noah Bradford and Jake Bradshaw, will travel to Georgia to compete in the tournament.

Team co-captains Thornton and Meyer have competed in national Knowledge Bowl tournaments before, and they hope to make it to at least the semifinal round this year.

“It’s very satisfying because of how hard we’ve worked” to go to nationals, Thornton said.

The competition in Georgia will be “intense,” he said. But the competition at home isn’t bad, either, as evidenced by the outcome at state.

Julie Blevens, co-coach of Fruita Monument’s Knowledge Bowl team and a teacher at Fruita 8/9 School, attributed Fruita’s second place win in the 5A category and third-place finish overall at state to having a smart team and strong local competition.

“When you compete against the state champions at the local level, you compete well. You’re just going to get better and better,” Blevens said.

Grand Junction’s Meyer said the Grand Valley is full of strong knowledge-bowl competitors.

“The playing style (here) is much more competitive than it is on the Eastern Slope,” he said.

Blevens said the team Fruita sent to state, which consists of seniors Hailey Hrncir, Thomas Scheevel, Sam Van Pelt and Josh Weedon, also will compete at a national tournament. That tournament is called the National Academic Championship and takes place in three venues: Chicago, New Orleans, and Washington, D.C. Fruita will compete May 28 to 30 in the New Orleans tournament.

Palisade High School placed second at state overall and first in class 4A. This is the school’s second year with a team.

Palisade students who competed at state include juniors Elliot Britvec, Zac Foust, Emily Miller and Lauren Restivo, plus sophomores Laura Borovolis and Cohen Turner.

Coach Heather Huntley, a teacher at Palisade High, said the team will not go to any national competitions this year but hopes to do so in the next few years.

“We need to fundraise,” Huntley said.


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