2001 IHSA State Championship Tournament

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The 2001 Illinois High School Association (IHSA) State Championship Tournaments ended the fifteenth State Championship Series conducted in Scholastic Bowl by the IHSA. It was the tenth season in which there were separate State Championship Tournaments held for small schools (Class A) and large schools (Class AA). For the fifth year, both tournaments were held at the Peoria Civic Center. It is widely considered to be one of the better years in Illinois Scholastic Bowl, as two major changes to the State Series took place.


The IHSA instituted a major change into the State Series structure this year. For the first time, a new level of competition was added, bringing Scholastic Bowl more in line with athletic competition. Teams would be still be assigned to one of eight sectionals within each class. However, teams would now be seeded by the coaches, and teams would be assigned to one of four Regionals within each Sectional. Within each Sectional, the winners and runners-up of each single elimination tournament would advance to the single elimination Sectional. The determination of the geographic boundaries of the Sectional was arbitrarily decided by the IHSA Office.

In the State Championship Tournament, the single elimination bracket was eliminated, and replaced with pool play. Teams would be randomly assigned to pools of four, and play a three match round robin. The winners of each pool would advance to the Championship Match, and the runners-up in each pool would advance to play for third place. Ties were broken by head-to-head results or total points scored (in the event of a three way tie)

This change had been lobbied for for years, with the argument being that the IHSA state series did not follow the standard and accepted practices of quiz bowl tournaments. In Illinois, tournaments typically see pool play in the morning rounds, only then followed by single elimination. The IHSA contended that all of their team tournaments were single elimination. While this was true, it was argued that in team athletics, this was standard, and that the IHSA adjusted this for individual tournaments, so that they would follow accepted practices within the individual sport or activity (for example, the use of Swiss pairings in chess, wrestlebacks in wrestling). It was especially a problem in that teams would travel sometimes several hours to end up playing a single one hour match before going home. While hardly perfect it was a step in the right direction after years of the IHSA refusing to make any changes that would favor players.

Tournament Format

Each round was comprised of 30 toss-ups and accompanying bonus questions. The sectional tournaments and State Championship Tournament were all single elimination. Teams were randomly assigned to positions in the bracket without regard for record or performance.

The exception to the single elimination format occurred in the semifinals, where the two semifinal losers played a third place match. The top four teams earned trophies and medals for team members, coaches, principals, and activities directors. The trophies were of the design smaller than that of the athletic trophies given out by the IHSA.

This would be the last year that the single elimination format would be used by the IHSA in the State Championship Tournament.


After years of complaints about the IHSA question provider, Answers Plus, the IHSA finally listened to coaches and refused to renew the company's contract. Under a proposal put forth by a moderator, questions would now be written by retired coaches or coaches from other states, and would be written by experts within a particular field. Questions would begin to incorporate rudimentary pyramidality. Question writers would also be more careful to have more acceptable alternative answers listed.

Tom Egan served as the first editor. In his own words: The questions that year, by today's standards, were not very good. Pyramidality had to be introduced gradually to avoid having people rebel against it, so there were still some short questions. The questions were regarded as extremely difficult by a majority of the Class A coaches, as we were expanding the canon, and were moving away from patterned computations that required a team to complete in 30 seconds, instead of a single individual. However, compared to what existed before that, this was an evolutionary leap forward.


2001 Class A IHSA State Championship Tournament
State Champion:

Warrensburg-Latham High School


Carlinville High School

Third Place

St. Anthony Catholic High School

Fourth Place

Sullivan High School


Carlinville and Sullivan were both 2-1 in pool play. Carlinville advanced to the championship match by virtue of having beaten Sullivan head-to-head.

Round Winning Team Score Losing Team Score
1 Carlinville 190 Sullivan 80
Latin School 253 Winnebago 60
2 Sullivan 119 Winnebago 112
Carlinville 175 Latin School 172
3 Sullivan 149 Latin School 98
Winnebago 125 Carlinville 114


Warrensburg-Latham advanced with a 3-0 record in the pool. St. Anthony advanced with the second best record in the pool (2-1).

Round Winning Team Score Losing Team Score
1 St. Anthony 145 Carterville 129
Warrensburg-Latham 141 Deer Creek-Mackinaw 55
2 Carterville 129 Deer Creek-Mackinaw 79
Warrensburg-Latham 299 St. Anthony 71
3 Warrensburg-Latham 120 Carterville 40
St. Anthony 160 Deer Creek-Mackinaw 54

Third Place

Winning Team Score Losing Team Score
St. Anthony 156 Sullivan 50


Winning Team Score Losing Team Score
Warrensburg-Latham 100 Carlinville 94


2001 Class AA IHSA State Championship Tournament
State Champion:

Illinois Math & Science Academy


Wheaton North High School

Third Place

Adlai E. Stevenson High School

Fourth Place

Fenwick High School


IMSA, Lincoln-Way, and Stevenson were all tied with 2-1 records. IMSA advanced to the Championship Match and Stevenson to the third place match by virtue of total points (902, 669, 467)

Round Winning Team Score Losing Team Score
1 IMSA 388 Lincoln-Way 105
Stevenson 264 Normal Community 162
2 Lincoln-Way 173 Stevenson 151
IMSA 288 Normal Community 161
3 Lincoln-Way 189 Normal Community 158
Stevenson 254 IMSA 226


Wheaton North advanced with a 3-0 record in the pool. Fenwick advanced with the second best record in the pool (2-1).

Round Winning Team Score Losing Team Score
1 Wheaton North 290 Boylan Catholic 164
Fenwick 293 Salem 144
2 Wheaton North 180 Fenwick 162
Salem 179 Boylan Catholic 169
3 Wheaton North 184 Salem 146
Fenwick 204 Boylan Catholic 168

Third Place

Winning Team Score Losing Team Score
Stevenson 185 Fenwick 172


Winning Team Score Losing Team Score
IMSA 238 Wheaton North 160


  • Warrensburg-Latham's first state title was the second for their coach, John Burke. His previous title had come while he was at St. Teresa, thus he became the first coach in Illinois history to win state titles with two different schools.
  • The Class A Championship Match was not only the lowest scoring in the history of the State Championship Tournaments, it was also the closest. In fact, the final toss-up went unanswered, which meant this final game was one of the very few where the outcome was in doubt until the final question was complete.
  • This was IMSA's eighth state title in twelve appearances dating back to their first appearance in 1989. As of 2008, IMSA has not appeared in another State Championship Tournament. This was Yogesh Raut's senior year, and he graduated with two state titles.
  • This was Wheaton North's third consecutive appearance in the Tournament, but this tournament is cited as the start of the great rise of the program to elite status. This would be the first top-2 finish in the team's seventh appearance in the State Championship Tournament. They would go on to place in the top four every year through 2008.
  • This was Phil Blessman's single year coaching at his alma mater, The Latin School. While he became the first coach in the team's history to not place in the State Championship Tournament, his success lay ahead of him at the Conserve School in Wisconsin and Culver in Indiana; one of the few coaches to claim state titles in two states.