2007 Illinois Panasonic Team
Winners of the PAC with a roster of Greg Gauthier from Wheaton North, Carlo Angiuli from New Trier, Greg Peterson of Maine South, Justin Stoncius from Carbondale, and Hunter Fast of Bloomington. Coached by David Riley and Nick Pitz.
All team members were selected after review of previous performance, and tryout at a selection event in February.
Angiuli, Gauthier, and Stoncius were all returning players from the 2006 squad. Peterson and Fast were chosen to fill the remaining spots.
This was the first time that Team Illinois would not be taking six players, with five being a preferred number after requests from the 2006 squad.
In late April, Riley was declared unable to travel by doctors, and was replaced by Tom Egan.
Illinois opened in the first round of play against Team New Mexico, Team Maine, and Team Washington D.C..
The five point round saw strong play: 11 correct and zero negs. D.C. managed four of each, and New Mexico a single correct answer. The team bonus saw Illinois add 8 points to D.C's 7. New Mexico earned five, and Maine only one.
The ten point round was an all Illinois and D.C. affair, with D.C. answering four correct, with two negs. Illinois matched D.C. in negs, but managed eleven correct. The twenty point team question saw Illinois earn 18, D.C. 14, with New Mexico and Maine earning four points each.
D.C. was forced to take risks, leading to four correct 15 point questions, and six incorrect. Even 14 points on the team question gave them a net -16 for the round. Illinois negged twice, but added nine correct answers, topped off by a perfect score on the 30 point team bonus.
Final Score: Illinois: 396 District of Columbia: 125 New Mexico: 122 Maine: 113
Illinois was assigned to what most would consider the hardest of the three semifinals, having to deal with Team Florida (who rarely fail to advance to the finals), two strong teams based on preliminary performance: Team Oklahoma, and Team Montana, and the always impossibly tough defending champions: Team Maryland.
Accordingly with the strong field, the five point round saw a relatively close finish with Florida running out ahead with four correct answers. Illinois scored four, but negged twice. Oklahoma scored three times while negging twice, Maryland scored thrice, negging once. After the five point round, the score stood: Florida 127, Maryland 117, Illinois 116, Oklahoma 110, Montana 108.
The ten point round could only be described as "surreal" to veteran watchers. Florida picking up 5 correct while still not negging was not unusual. Illinois and Oklahoma adding four each was not unusual. Seeing Maryland neg four times while only picking up two correct answers was not expected. At the end of the ten point round, Florida sat at 193, while Illinois' 174 was barely holding Oklahoma (164) at bay. Montana reached 130. Maryland had a net two point loss, sinking them to 115 and last place.
The fifteen point round would be the clincher, and certainly Florida's mistake free play, adding six more correct answers locked up their ticket to the finals. Illinois added five with a single neg, which would be enough to hold off Oklahoma two correct and three negs. Maryland's final round was disastrous: five negs before a single correct answer. Even their 24 points on the Team Bonus, the best of all five teams, gave them a net loss of 36 points for the round.
Final score: Florida: 301 Illinois: 253 Oklahoma: 164 Montana: 126 Maryland: 79
The finals would see Illinois again face off with Florida and D.C, as well as seeing Team California, and Team Kentucky. There would also be a rematch of sorts against Team Missouri against whom Illinois had scrimmaged the night before.
The five point round was notable to see Kentucky and D.C. going in opposite directions: D.C. managed four correct against two negs, while Kentucky managed four negs, effectively removing them from competition early. After the five point round, D.C. led with 117, with Missouri and Illinois staying close at 114. California rang in at 105, ahead of Florida's 104, with Kentucky at 89.
The ten point round saw Illinois pull ahead with Missouri as Illinois gave seven correct answers. Missouri rang up three, with one neg. After the strong start, D.C. sputtered with two correct and one neg; a result matched by Florida. Kentucky added two negs, but did manage their first positive points of the match. After the ten point round, Illinois led with 193, followed by Missouri at 152. D.C. was third at 141 followed by Florida at 132, and California at 119. Kentucky came back up to 97.
The fifteen point round would see a furious comeback by Missouri as Illinois struggled to hold on to the lead. While Illinois managed three correct on one neg, Missouri came on with five correct, negging only on the last question. D.C's single neg allowed Florida to move ahead for third with four correct. California added three correct, while Kentucky added one correct, and two more negs. Missouri's 28 points on the 30 point team bonus was not enough when Illinois scored 24.
Final score: Illinois: 252 Missouri: 240 Florida: 210 California: 188 D.C.: 148 Kentucky: 91
Greg Gauthier became the fourth member of Team Illinois to be named to the tournament's "All-America" team.
The trip home took most of the next day, and forced rerouting through Miami International Airport after the team's flight was cancelled due to flooding in Texas.
When, in September, an Illinois coach attempted to get hold of the trophy for a photo opportunity, the trophy could not be found, until it was located, still boxed, on the loading dock at the governor's office in Springfield. It had apparently not been moved since its arrival for several weeks.