GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - For the 14th time in 15 years, the Grand Junction High School Knowledge Bowl team has brought home the state title. Now the Tigers have their eyes set on something even bigger.
The title of state champion isn't something that comes around too often for most high school teams -- unless, that is, you're a member of the Grand Junction High School Knowledge Bowl team.
"It feels great," says Sean Silva, a GJHS senior on the team. "We've been working all year to get to this."
This spring, the Tigers beat the best from all corners of Colorado to claim their 13th state championship in 14 years. But even with a streak like that, the students say they won't let their guard down and still have to put in a lot of hard work to win.
"The first day [of states] was jam packed with a lot of pressure for us," says Michael Gebhard, a GJHS senior on the team. "We were definitely feeling it."
"It's great to be successful after we put so much into it," says McKenzie Bender, a GJHS senior on the team.
With nationals just weeks away, they'll be putting that much plus more into their preparation.
"The practice schedule is really going to ramp up," says Silva. "We're going to be practicing eight hours per week."
Because nationals are no joke.
"The competition is definitely a lot higher," says Patrick Thornton, a GJHS junior on the team. "You get teams from private schools, you'll get teams from magnet schools and maybe sometimes there's even all star teams and we're just a little public school from Grand Junction."
A little public school that took third place at nationals in 2009 -- but this year, the team is going to a new tournament that uses a format it's never seen before.
"We're going to have to work really hard to achieve our desired outcome," says Silva.
The students say their goal is to finish in the top half of the field. But with hard work, extra practice, and most importantly team work, a national title might not be out of reach.
"We are a team," says Gebhard. "We know each other inside and out. Because of that team chemistry, it just produces results."
The Tiger will be competing in Chicago starting May 25.