GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Talk about a clean sweep -- three Grand Valley high schools took the top three spots at this year's State Knowledge Bowl Tournament. But each had to overcome a few hurdles to get there.
It's not often that gold, silver, and bronze hail from one location. But that's just what happened when three local high schools buzzed their way to the top of the State Knowledge Bowl Tournament.
"I think it says we really take it seriously and we put a lot into it," said Jake Meyer, a member of the GJHS Knowledge Bowl team.
"I think that really draws attention to us as having these really great programs," said Laura Borovilos, a member of the PHS Knowledge Bowl team.
For the eighth straight year -- and now 15 out of the last 16 years -- Grand Junction High School was crowned the overall state champion. But having lost at Regionals, the Tigers say this was the first time in a long time they didn't go in feeling certain they could win.
"We worked really, really, really hard to make our team a better team," said Patrick Thornton, a member of the GJHS Knowledge Bowl team. "So we went into it and it was like can we do what we've been practicing. And it turned out that we could, so it was just a really sweet victory for us."
Right on their heels, Palisade High School came in second overall. But for the second straight year, they claimed the top spot in their division. The Bulldogs say it was a sweet victory for them too given the fact their team has no seniors and they came into the year with a new coach.
"We knew it was going to be an uphill battle," said Emily Miller, a member of the PHS Knowledge Bowl team. "And we still managed to climb and perform really well."
Fruita Monument took second in their division and third overall -- their best finish in a number of years. Earlier this year, they beat Grand Junction at Regionals. The Wildcats say they're impressed with the outcome seeing as how they only get to practice once a week.
"One of the things that's unique about our team is the combination of how little we actually get together and do an organized practice and how well we do," said Josh Weedon, a member of the FMHS Knowledge Bowl team.
The teams say it's exciting to see the competitive gap between them close.
"It's always been really close," said Thomas Scheevel, a member of the FMHS Knowledge Bowl team. "It's been really close this whole year."
"It's really good because we balance each other out," said Miller. "I think it increases the competitiveness."
And as they look ahead to next year, they say the race for the top spot should get interesting.
"It's going to take a lot to get past them next year," said Thornton.
GJHS and FMHS are now preparing for national tournaments in Atlanta and New Orleans.
PHS qualified for nationals, but won't be going due to financial constraints. The team says, however, it's planning an aggressive fundraising campaign so it can go next year.