GJHS claims Knowledge Bowl state title

Grand Junction High School Knowledge Bowl participants McKenzie Binder, center, and Hamilton Reed watch their team captain Coady Shawcroft work out a problem during a practice session at the school.

If you’re looking for some of the brightest kids in the state, search no further than the Grand Valley. The Grand Junction High School and Fruita Monument High School Knowledge Bowl teams placed first and second, respectively, last weekend at the state tournament.

Fifty-eight teams participated in the state tournament in five divisions, 1A–5A. Grand Junction won the 5A division title and the state title with 249 points. Fruita Monument squeezed past Fairview High School by two points, with a score of 199. It was the Tigers’ 13th state title in the past 14 years.

This win sends them to the National Tournament For Academic Excellence, which is open only to state winners. Between 33 and 48 teams usually participate, said Grand Junction team coach Lorena Thompson. Her students finished in the top 10 last year.

The team will practice up to four hours a day once summer break starts. The tournament will be June 13–16 at Disney World in Florida.

To prepare, students group in teams as Thompson reads practice questions. On most questions, the students buzz in before the entire question has been read.

“Give the present-day name of the country formerly known as Cey…”

One team buzzes in so quickly it even shocks Thompson.

The answer: Sri Lanka. (The second half of the cut-off word: -lon.)

The team captain is Coady Shawcroft, a senior. His teammates include four seniors, Eric List, Hamilton Reed, Dylan Proietti and Detrick Snyder; three juniors, Mackenzie Binder, Sean Silva and Michael Gebhard; and a sophomore, Patrick Thornton.

Six members will attend the tournament in Florida, four as regulars and two alternates. Shawcroft’s specialty is history; other team members excel in math, science, literature and art history.

“I think we’ll do well,” Shawcroft said.

The Fruita Monument state team consisted of captain and senior Kate Dusenbury; three
juniors, James Mauch, Chase Martin and Chad Hotimsky; and sophomore Thomas Scheevel.

They are coached by Fruita 8–9 School teachers Julie Blevens and Joe Mauch.

Last year they placed fourth overall at the state competition. It is the sixth year Fruita Monument has had a Knowledge Bowl team.


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