Team Illinois is an all-star team of 5-6 high school quizbowl players selected annually by the to the Illinois High School Scholastic Bowl Coaches Association (IHSSBCA) to represent Illinois at national competitions. From 1997-2008, Team Illinois competed in the Panasonic Academic Challenge. The program was canceled in 2009, but was resurrected to send a team to NASAT beginning in 2010.
Selection Process & Preparation
Players attend one of several open mid-season tryout events, one of which is attached to the IHSSBCA/NAST Illinois Championship. Coaches are encouraged to send players of exceptional talent, with an eye for players who tend to excel beyond IHSA format, but anyone attending high school in the state of Illinois, even those not attached to an active team, is welcome to try their hand.
At the tryout, players answer a battery of approximately 100 bonus parts, read to each player individually under NASAT rules, and play a series of approximately 4 singles-style tossup rounds. These tossup rounds have a unique scoring system of +2 for a correct answer and -1 for an incorrect answer (at any point, even after the tossup is over.) Singles rooms are sequentially re-pooled after each round to produce a variety of room conditions and buzz points are carefully recorded on each question.
The resulting data are analyzed metrically to produce a list of approximately 20 candidates. These play in a second tryout event - which may be online - against one another. Data from that are combined with first-round data, re-analyzed, and that analysis is combined with observations of play and players character/record for use by an IHSSBCA selection committee and Team Illinois coaches to make a selection of 4-6 players per team to be fielded, though team level (A, B, etc.) is not always decided at this time. The team(s) practice many times, usually online, between the selection and the competition and sometimes players are moved between team levels as a result of performance in these practices.
The major goals of this process are to produce the strongest team(s) possible, considering player overlap and balance across subjects, and to give all players a fair chance to show their talents.
Because the tryouts for the 2020 Team Illinois were held just two weeks before the state-enforced COVID lockdown, a 2020 Team Illinois was named despite the cancellation of the 2020 NASAT, as the players had already been selected.
2001 at the NSC
In 2001, Team Illinois was permitted to enter the PACE NSC to play exhibition matches. There were complaints regarding the presence of an all-star team, and Team Illinois was never permitted to return, nor has any other all-star team been permitted to participate. Nonetheless, Yogesh Raut was named to the All-Scholar team. Team Illinois' participation coincided with its coach, Rob Grierson, receiving the 2001 Benjamin Cooper Academic Ambassador Award.
- 1997 - Rob Grierson
- 1998-2001 - Rob Grierson and Debbie Martin
- 2002–2005 - David Riley
- 2006–2007 - David Riley and Nick Pitz
- 2008 - Nick Pitz and David Adkins
- 2009 - no team
- 2010–2011 - David Riley and Mike Laudermith*
- 2012-2014 - Sharon Lorinskas and Jay Winter
- 2015 - Brad Fischer and Noah Prince
- 2016 - Sharon Lorinskas
- 2017-2018 - Mike Sorice and Matt Laird
- 2019 - Linda Greene and Jonathan Legendre
*Mike Laudermith also was a player on the first Team Illinois, in 1997.
Rosters & Results
From 1997-2008, Team Illinois competed at the Panasonic Academic Challenge. Players in bold were selected to the All-American team.
- Greg Gauthier was only the third player in the history of the PAC to be named to the All-American team, twice.
Since 2010, Team Illinois has competed at NASAT. There was no Team Illinois in 2009. The 2020 iteration of the tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic after tryouts had taken place, so rosters for the teams were announced.
- 1998 Illinois Panasonic Team
- 2000 Illinois Panasonic Team
- 2002 Illinois Panasonic Team
- 2007 Illinois Panasonic Team
- 2008 Illinois Panasonic Team