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spacer Illinois Captures the State’s First National Championship at 20th Annual Panasonic Academic Challenge spacer


Five Student Team Bests 30 Teams From Across North America

To Capture $15,000 in Scholarships

ORLANDO, FL.– Today an All-Star team of five students representing the State of Illinois outlasted teams from 30 other states and U.S. territories to take home the top prize in the premier high school academic competition in the nation - the 20th annual Panasonic Academic Challenge held at the Walt Disney World’s Contemporary Hotel. Second prize was awarded to an All-Star team from Missouri and third place was awarded to an All-Star team from Florida. The title marks the first time the State of Illinois has won the Panasonic Academic Challenge crown. The state’s previous best finish was 2nd in 2002.

The team of five students – Hunter Fast (Bloomington High School) of Bloomington, Gregory Gauthier (Wheaton North High School) of Wheaton, Justin Stoncius (Carbondale Community High School) of Carbondale, Carlo Angiuli (New Trier High School) of Glenview, and Gregory Peterson (Maine South High School) of Park Ridge – led by coaches Nick Pitz (Moline High School) of Bettendorf, Iowa and Tom Egan (Maine South High School) of Niles, defeated five teams representing Kentucky, California, Missouri, Florida and the District of Columbia in this afternoon’s six team national championship match.

Each member of this year’s winning team from Illinois received a $2,500 scholarship, the runner-up team members from Missouri each received $1,500 scholarships and the third place team members from Florida each received $500 scholarships courtesy of Panasonic. The top three teams will also receive Panasonic Academic Championship rings from Herff Jones Inc.

“On behalf of Panasonic, I want to congratulate all of the participants in this year’s competition,” said Joseph Taylor, Executive Vice President and COO. “Panasonic is very proud of its long relationship with what has become the preeminent academic challenge in our nation. Education is the foundation of our future. As participants in this competition, this year’s student competitors exemplified our nation’s core standard of educational excellence. This year’s Championship team from Illinois should take great pride in the scholastic and personal accomplishments that have earned them an exclusive place in this competition’s rich history.”

The Panasonic Academic Challenge is modeled after Florida’s state tournament. Unlike most quick response contests, the Panasonic Academic Challenge uses a slower-paced format in which as many as six teams at a time answer questions created by a panel of high school and college educators from around the nation. Subjects include mathematics, science, language arts, social studies, fine arts, foreign languages (French & Spanish) and technology.

One team of six students and a coach were selected to represent each U.S. state and territory at the event where the teams compete for more than $31,500 in academic scholarships and the title of Panasonic Academic Challenge National Champion. The method of team selection varies by state. States with existing state competitions send their championship school or an All-Star team selected from participants at the state competition. In some states, interested schools submit team profiles and the PAC tournament committee selects a state representative.

The other 2007 participating teams included: Alabama (Indian Springs High School, Colorado (Grand Junction High School), Connecticut (Cheshire High School), Idaho (Mackey High School), Indiana (Ben Davis High School), Iowa (Southern Cal High School), Louisiana (Catholic High), Maine (Oak Hill High School), Maryland (Team Maryland), Mississippi (East Rankin Academy), Missouri (North Kansas City High School), Montana (Skyview High School), New Hampshire (NH Quiz Bowl League), New Jersey (High Technology High School), New Mexico (Southwest Learning Centers), North Carolina (NC School of Science and Math), Ohio (Garfield Heights High School), Oklahoma (OKAAC), Pennsylvania (Scranton High School), Tennessee (Farragut High School), Texas (Klein High School), US Virgin Islands (St. Croix Central High School), Vermont (Champlain Valley Union High School), West Virginia (Parkersburg Catholic High School), Wisconsin (Rufus King IB High School), and Wyoming (Wyoming Academic Challenge).

For complete results and more information on the Panasonic Academic Challenge, please visit


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