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GSL Knowledge Bowl team captures state title

At the end of the last practice before the state meet, Glencoe-Silver Lake (GSL) Coach Vicky Harris told the Knowledge Bowlers they were one of the most amazing groups in the state, and certainly work harder than anyone else in Knowledge Bowl. She showed them a picture of a sign that said “Go Out and Be Amazing.” She thought that if they could just show everyone how amazing they really were, that would be all they needed to do.
Well, they did it! They went out and were amazing! All three GSL teams were in the top half of the 24 teams in the Class A part of the state meet. GSL Grey was 12th with 99.0, Purple was eighth with 104.0, and GSL Black is the 2015 State Champion with 130.5 points.
The banquet is always impressive: here there were 48 teams from across Minnesota who have been the best in their region. These teams represent the over 800 teams that compete in Knowledge Bowl at the high school level across the state. After the banquet, students start the written round at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday. Mountain Lake had the highest written score in Class A with 53, followed by GSL Black and St. John’s Prep Blue, tied for second with 50. GSL Purple, with a score of 48, was in fifth, while GSL Grey was 11th, with 45.
On Friday morning, oral rounds started soon after breakfast. The tension in the oral rounds is hard to describe. Teams are working hard to earn their points, trying to get their speed just right — fast enough to win the point, but hearing enough of the question to know the answer.  And each team is working against two other extremely good teams trying to do exactly the same thing.
The first oral round went very quickly: GSL Black earned 16, St. John’s Prep 13, and Mountain Lake 6. Unfortunately, as often happens after Round 1, that was enough to drop St. John’s Prep and Mountain Lake to lower rooms. Meanwhile in Room 2, GSL Purple had earned 17 points so it got to move up to Room 1 for the next round.
For one brief shining moment, GSL had Black in first place, Purple in second place, and Tri-City United (TCU) in a three-way tie for third. After a lot of tough questions, the round ended with TCU 12, GSL Black 11, GSL Purple 9. In Room 2, it had not been so close for St. John’s Prep, who dominated the room 22-11-2 and moved back up to room one while GSL Purple moved back to Room 2.
Round three was GSL Black’s strongest round. The scores at the end of the round, were GSL 19, St. John’s Prep 9 and TCU 6. In Room 2, GSL Purple had earned 7, while Plainview-Elgin-Millville (PEM) had earned 13. After this round, GSL Black was in the lead by two points over St. John’s Prep (96-94), with the next team at 87. The two best teams in the state were definitely starting to pull ahead.
The tension and quick thinking continued in Round 4. GSL Black earned 16 and St. John’s Prep earned 14 to further separate them from the crowd (PEM had 7.) In the final Round 5, GSL Black went against two teams from St John’s Prep. St. John’s Prep Red stayed slightly ahead for the whole round to finish with 14, while GSL Black had 11. St. John’s Prep Blue, its second team, had only 8.
After adding the Strength of Scheduling points, GSL Black had 130.5 for the championship. St. John’s Prep Red had 129.0 for second place. These two teams, which had gone head to head for four rounds, were both over 16 points ahead of the third place team, Tri-City United, which finished third with 112.5. Other teams followed relatively close together: fourth was PEM with 111.5, while Mountain Lake and St. John’s Prep Blue were tied for fifth with 107.0. GSL’s Purple team ended with 104.0 points for eighth place. Meanwhile, GSL’s Grey team had begun the meet in Room 4 and alternated between Rooms 4 and 5, finally finishing in 12th  place with 99.0 points.  
The team members of GSL Black, the state champ, are Mark Broderius, Patrick Fehrenbach, Chandler Swift  and Jacob Wawrzyniak.  GSL Purple includes Maddie Kuehn, Jacob Fehrenbach, Katie Twiss, Jake Vasek and Austin Pinske. GSL’s Grey team members are Kyle Beck, Brent Duenow, Mitch Beneke, Mark Lueders and Trevor Posusta.
The two coaches, Charles Miller of St. John’s Prep and Harris of GSL, felt that these two teams — GSL Black and St. John’s Prep Red — had been the best in the state all year and they were remarkably evenly matched. To summarize the competition at this meet, they were against each other for four of the five rounds, and GSL had won three while St. John’s Prep had won one of the rounds.
Miller noted that in the last 10 years of state meets, these two schools had combined to win the championships seven times. GSL has now won three (2007, 2013 and 2015) while St. John’s Prep has won four (2006, 2008, 2012 and 2014).  
One of the GSL parents pointed out that GSL has had three of the top 12 teams in state competing against each other every day in practice.  No wonder the GSL teams have become so strong!
Coach Harris said, “I knew all year that I was working with some of the best Knowledge Bowlers in the state of Minnesota. The state meet could only confirm what I already knew — that I was working with champions! It has been a privilege to be their coach.”