PALISADE, Colo. (KKCO) - In just its first year of competing, the Palisade High School Knowledge Bowl Team took home a state title. Unfortunately, it's going to take more than smarts for these champs to represent the Grand Valley at the next level.
It was just last fall when a group of students came to teacher Lyndsay Thompson and asked if she would help them start a Knowledge Bowl team.
"I couldn't say no," says Thompson.
Having been involved with the trivia competition as a student herself, she taught the kids how the game worked. Then things took off.
"The first few months it was just going to be enjoyable for them, this is a great experience and they can learn a lot," says Thompson. "Then they started getting really good."
So good, they qualified for the state tournament only months after their first competition.
"We knew we could do well, but we knew we had a lack of experience," says Matthew Farrell, a senior on the team. "It's really hard to stack yourself up against other teams that have been doing this for years."
"We really didn't know what to expect," says Elliot Britveck, a sophomore on the team. "It was a new experience and it was very exciting."
But they exceeded even their own expectations, winning their 4A Division and coming in second overall to reigning champion Grand Junction High School.
"It was awesome that all our hard work paid off," says Farrell.
But even more than their hour-and-a-half practices and outside studying time, the students say it's their team chemistry that ultimately led them to victory.
"I think they're awesome," says Farrell. "We're sort of like a family."
Winning the state title means the team qualifies for national competition. But being a brand new team and using the few funds they did have for other competitions, they've run into a brick wall.
"We barely made it to state with what we had left and now our bank accounts are empty," says Thompson. "The unfortunate thing is they qualified by winning their division and at this moment, there's no way to go."
The students are currently coming up with ideas on how to raise the $8,000 to $10,000 they'll need to get to nationals. While they say they're willing to work hard to make that happen, they're hoping the community can help them out too.
"I do think we have the ability to be the best of the best," says Emily Miller, a sophomore member of the team.
"We would appreciate any help," Thompson says.
To find out how you can make a donation, call Palisade High School at (970) 254-4800 and ask for Lyndsay Thompson.