Grissom

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Virgil I. Grissom High School Tigers
Grissomhighcrest1.jpg
Location:
Huntsville, Alabama
Club President None
Coaches Luke Sheehan
State Championships 1982 (UAB 4A), 1987 (UAB 5A-6A), ASCA: 1991, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004 ASCA JV: 2013, 2018
National Championships None
National Appearances PAC: 2000, 2001, 2003
Program Status Active
School Size 1992

Virgil I. Grissom High School, more commonly referred to as Grissom High School, is a public high school in Huntsville, Alabama with approximately 2,200 students in grades 9-12 from Southeast Huntsville. Grissom is a part of the Huntsville City Schools (HCS) system.

Championships

Grissom's quiz bowl has won 8 Alabama UAB/Alabama Scholastic Competition Association (ASCA) state championships (1982 (4A), 1987 (5A-6A), 1991, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, & 2004 (ASCA)) - the most of any Alabama high school - with runner-up finishes in 1994, 2005, and 2013. Grissom has been to 12 known Alabama state final fours (1982, 1987, 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2012, and 2013). Grissom finished 5th in the 1992 Texaco Star National Academic Championship and 6th in the 2000 Panasonic Academic Challenge. Grissom won the 2018 ASCA JV State Championship.

Coaches

Dr. Avis Satterfield, former AP English teacher at Grissom, was team coach from the team's inception through the 1999-2000 season. Under her direction, the team won 4 Alabama state championships, 12 HCS city championships (of the first 14 held), and made 2 appearances at national tournaments. Ms. Regina Johnson, English teacher, and Ms. Rosemarie Bishop, school librarian, co-coached the team from the 1999-2000 to the 2001-2002 season before Johnson took over full coaching duties from the 2002-2003 season, winning an additional 4 state titles. Mrs. Renee Palmer became coach in 2009 upon Johnson's retirement. Luke Sheehan emerged as the new coach in 2017.

Players

Grissom player Daniel Thomas was selected to the 2001 Panasonic Academic Challenge All-American Team.

Grissom player Shawn Askew (1989-1993) was a 1-day Jeopardy! co-champion in 1997.

Past Seasons

1989-1990

Grissom finished the season 34-5 with a 7-1 record in tournament play. The Tigers won their 4th consecutive Huntsville City Schools (HCS) city championship with a 14-2 record in regular-season city play. Grissom entered the city championship tournament as the #1 seed with the automatic first-round bye before losing to Johnson HS 180-155 in the second round. The Tigers won out through the losers' bracket to face Johnson again, winning 250-130, forcing a deciding championship match between the two which they won 210-65.

Grissom won their ASCA district championship to earn a spot in the 16-team double-elimination 1990 ASCA state championship tournament. The tournament, broadcast on Alabama Public Television on tape-delay during the summer of 1990, crowned Auburn HS as champions.

Date Tournament Result W-L
November 21, 1989 Lee HS (Huntsville, Ala.) HCS city meet W 4-0
December 14, 1989 Grissom HS (Huntsville, Ala.) HCS city meet W 4-0
January 23, 1990 Huntsville HS (Huntsville, Ala.) HCS city meet W 3-1
February 15, 1990 Johnson HS (Huntsville, Ala.) HCS city meet W 3-1
February 23, 1990 Wallace St. CC (Hanceville, Ala.) ASCA district championship W 5-0
March 1, 1990 HCS City Championship (at Butler HS (Huntsville, Ala.)) W 3-1
March 29, 1990 Calhoun St. CC Invitational (Decatur, Ala.) W 8-0
April 25-28, 1990 ASCA State Championship (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) L (5th place) 2-2

Starting Team

  • Sandor Lehoczky (Sr. - captain)
  • Wendy Steadman (Jr.)
  • Eric Sung (Jr.)
  • Shawn Askew (Fr.)

1990-1991

Returning three starters from the previous season, Grissom established itself once again as the class of Alabama high school quiz bowl, finishing the season 37-4 with a 7-2 record in tournament play. The Tigers won their 5th consecutive Huntsville City Schools (HCS) city championship with a 15-1 record in regular-season city play, the sole city loss coming to Lee HS on a disputed bonus question in the Butler HS city meet. Grissom entered the city championship tournament as the #1 seed with the automatic first-round bye and reeled off three straight wins (including a 235-150 win over rival Huntsville HS in the final) to claim the title.

Grissom won their ASCA district championship to earn a spot in the 16-team double-elimination 1991 ASCA state championship tournament. The Tigers dropped their opening match of the district tournament to traditional rival Decatur HS 380-275, only for Grissom to win out in pool play while Decatur dropped two later matches, placing the Tigers in the final against Athens Bible (which the Tigers won 345-125); Decatur would extract a measure of revenge against the Tigers by beating them to win the Calhoun St. CC Invitational two months later. The state tournament, broadcast on Alabama Public Television on tape-delay during the summer of 1991, saw Grissom sweep through to their 3rd state championship with a 5-0 record. A second round 370-340 victory over defending champion Auburn with a "save" (correct final tossup answer) from Tony Rickey highlighted the tournament. Grissom defeated Central HS of Tuscaloosa 390-365 in the championship final.

For winning the 1991 Alabama state championship, Grissom earned an automatic bid to the 1991 National Tournament of Academic Excellence in Orlando, Florida. The Tigers would go 1-1, finishing in 25th place on points.

Date Tournament Result W-L
October 25, 1990 Butler HS (Huntsville, Ala.) HCS city meet W 3-1
November 15, 1990 Johnson HS (Huntsville, Ala.) HCS city meet W 4-0
December 13, 1990 Lee HS (Huntsville, Ala.) HCS city meet W 4-0
January 24, 1991 Grissom HS (Huntsville, Ala.) HCS city meet W 4-0
February 22, 1991 U. of Alabama-Huntsville (Huntsville, Ala.) ASCA district championship W 6-1
February 28, 1991 HCS City Championship (at Huntsville HS (Ala.)) W 3-0
April 11, 1991 Calhoun St. CC Invitational (Decatur, Ala.) L (2nd place) 7-1
April 18-20, 1991 ASCA State Championship (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) W 5-0
June 17-21, 1991 1991 National Tournament of Academic Excellence (Orlando, Fla.) L (25th place) 1-1

Starting Team

  • Wendy Steadman (Sr. - captain)
  • Eric Sung (Sr.)
  • Anthony Rickey (Jr.)
  • Shawn Askew (So.)

1991-1992

Returning two starters from the previous season's state championship team, the Tigers expected to seriously challenge for state and national honors. Though Grissom would finish the season 35-5 with a somewhat disappointing 5-3 record in tournament play, they would feature on the national stage for the first time. The Tigers won their 6th consecutive Huntsville City Schools (HCS) city championship with a 14-2 record in regular-season city play. Grissom lost the Butler HS city meet (3-1) to Johnson HS (4-0), the first city meet the Tigers had lost in three seasons. Grissom still entered the city championship tournament, which they hosted, as the #1 seed with the automatic first-round bye before losing to Lee HS 270-255 in the winners' bracket final. The Tigers won out through the losers' bracket to face Lee again, winning 265-90, forcing a deciding championship match between the two which they won 275-100, capturing their first city title on home soil.

In the ASCA district championship, Grissom would lose its first match in pool play to upstart Athens HS (Ala.). Athens HS would win out in pool play and capture the district title in the playoffs, leaving the defending state champion Tigers out of the 1992 ASCA state championship tournament.

Recovering from being knocked out of state title contention, the Tigers would capture the Calhoun St. CC Invitational title (including a 520-0 win over Brewer HS). The key win over eventual 2nd place Johnson HS 340-180 in the 4th round of round-robin play would give the Tigers the victory in a 8+-team tournament necessary to qualify for the 1992 Texaco Star National Academic Championship in Houston, Texas.

After a series of fund raising efforts (including an exhibition match against a Grissom faculty select team), the Tigers went to the 1992 NAC. Competing against 81 other schools, the Tigers swept through the three preliminary matches with wins over Bexley HS (Bexley, O.) (340-245), Marinette HS (Marinette, Wisc.) (350-150), and Potlatch HS (Potlatch, Id.) (405-190) before defeating City HS (Grand Rapids, Mich.) 335-275 to reach the 15-team televised bracket playoffs. The Tigers would beat Edmond Memorial HS (Edmound, Okla.) 285-200 to reach the national quarterfinals before losing to Plano East HS (Plano, Tex.) 425-265. Grissom would finish 5th place on points and received a hearty welcome from suporters at the Birmingham, Ala. airport upon their return to Alabama.

Date Tournament Result W-L
October 24, 1991 Lee HS (Huntsville, Ala.) HCS city meet W 4-0
November 21, 1991 Butler HS (Huntsville, Ala.) HCS city meet L (2nd place) 3-1
December 5, 1991 Johnson HS (Huntsville, Ala.) HCS city meet W 4-0
January 16, 1992 Huntsville HS (Huntsville, Ala.) HCS city meet W 3-1
February 13, 1992 HCS City Championship (at Grissom HS (Huntsville, Ala.)) W 4-1
February 21, 1992 U. of Alabama-Huntsville (Huntsville, Ala.) ASCA district championship L (2nd place in Pool B) 3-1
April 21, 1992 Calhoun St. CC Invitational (Decatur, Ala.) W 9-0
June 6-12, 1992 1992 Texaco Star National Academic Championship (Houston, Tex.) L (5th place) 5-1

Starting Team

  • Shawn Askew (Jr. - captain)
  • Anthony Rickey (Sr.)
  • Seenu Inguva (Sr.)
  • Joyce Ou (Sr.)
  • Alvin Shih (Jr.)
  • Shan Nichols (Sr.)

1992-1993

Obtaining a starter in the form of transfer math man Indy Chakrabarti from Texas, the Tigers would field a senior laden team in its 1992-1993 season. Grissom would experience a "down" season due primarily to committments of starters to other endeavors. Grissom would finish the season 37-6 with a disappointing 6-3 record in tournament play. The Tigers won their 7th consecutive Huntsville City Schools (HCS) city championship with a 14-2 record in regular-season city play. Grissom lost the Butler HS city meet (3-1) to a resurgent Huntsviile HS (4-0). Grissom still entered the city championship tournament as the #1 seed with the automatic first-round bye before losing to Huntsville HS 215-205 in the winners' bracket final. The Tigers won out through the losers' bracket to face Huntsville again, winning 225-160, forcing a deciding championship match between the two. Grissom would capture the title 195-190 in one of the most exciting city championship final matches ever, which featured three successful captain's challenges to procedures and opposing team answers and a title-winning "save" by Shawn Askew.

With then-defending champion Grissom being eliminated in pool play in the 1992 district championship, ASCA would institute an intervening sub-state tournament between the district and state tournaments to ensure a higher quality 1993 state tournament field. Grissom would sweep through its district tournament pool play to advance to the sub-state tournament. The Tigers would then capture the sub-state championship by winning its four matches and advance to the 1993 state championship tournament (including a revenge win over Athens HS 355-150), which was changed to a two-pool round-robin format with the top two teams in each pool advancing to a double-elimination "final four" playoff. With starters Alvin Shih and Lawrence Roberts choosing to represent Grissom at the National Mu Alpha Theta math ciphering meet, the Tigers fielded a patchwork squad for the state tournament. Grissom would finish 3rd in Pool B, losing to "final four" teams Indian Springs (250-160) and Central HS (295-190), the eventual state champion, and bow out of the tournament.

Grissom would close the season with a 2nd place finish at the Calhoun St. CC Invitational to Johnson HS, who scored an uncharacteristicly large 400-180 win over the Tigers.

Date Tournament Result W-L
November 12, 1992 Huntsville HS (Huntsville, Ala.) HCS city meet W 4-0
December 10, 1992 Butler HS (Huntsville, Ala.) HCS city meet L (2nd place) 3-1
January 12, 1993 Grissom HS (Huntsville, Ala.) HCS city meet W 4-0
February 2, 1993 Lee HS (Huntsville, Ala.) HCS city meet W 3-1
February 19, 1993 U. of Alabama-Huntsville (Huntsville, Ala.) ASCA district qualifier W 4-0
February 23, 1993 HCS City Championship (at Johnson HS (Huntsville, Ala.)) W 4-1
March 20, 1993 Huntsville MS (Huntsville, Ala.) ASCA sub-state championship W 4-0
April 15-17, 1993 ASCA State Championship (Troy, Ala.) L (3rd place in Pool B) 5-2
April 30, 1993 Calhoun St. CC Invitational (Decatur, Ala.) L (2nd place) 6-1

Starting Team

  • Shawn Askew (Sr. - captain)
  • Alvin Shih (Sr.)
  • Lawrence Roberts (Sr.)
  • Indy Chakrabarti (Sr.)
  • Joseph Ou (So.)
  • Joey Pleva (Fr.)