Sharon Workman quizzed for Full Gospel Chapel in Denver, Colorado in 1966 and 1967. Most of the details of these years have been lost to history. We do know that they were the first two years in which national finals was played as an eight-team round robin, as opposed to a single-elimination tournament. Top scorers were not announced until 1968, so by convention she is listed as the top scorer these years because she was captain of the championship team. In these days, teams had very little information about the other teams before arriving at nationals. Invitational tournaments were still years away. George Edgerly recalls that Sharon led her team to the first back-to-back national championships ever, and that certainly merits inclusion in the list.
Linda Whorton quizzed for Centreville A/G in Centreville, Virginia in the early 1970s. She is the first person to win back-to-back scoring titles since top scorers were announced starting in 1968. Northern Virginia quizzing was very strong in these days, with Centreville, then Ebony sending teams every year from 1968 to 1973. Linda's first year as top scorer was in 1970. Her team's placement is unknown. In 1971, Linda repeated as top scorer and her team was second, fighting it out with New Orleans in a playoff match. Linda was kind enough to provide us with scoresheets for all of these matches and it is easy to see that she was a phenomenal quizzer, posting scores well over 100 nearly every match. George Edgerly describes Centreville as the "first great interrupting team and among the first to deliberately interrupt". Linda's memory is still sharp as a tack. When asked if she still remembered details of her years as a quizzer, Linda replied "Your question made me laugh. There is NO way I could ever forget the games the year we had the playoff for the book of Matthew...sometimes I wish I could forget!"
Linda Whorton Winstead currently works at the Potomac district office and speaks fondly of the effect that Bible Quiz had on her life.
Jodi Heugel quizzed for Aurora, Colorado in the mid-1970s. She went to nationals once, in 1977. Her team was first place and she was also the top scorer. While we have typically restricted our top 50 list to quizzers with more than one nationals appearance, quizzers in the "eight team" days get a little leeway in this regard. Making nationals was an amazing achievement by itself. Not only was only one team from each region allowed to compete at nationals, but only one team from each district was allowed to compete at regionals. As such, many truly great teams never got a chance to even compete at nationals. The first Bible Quiz newsletter, ever, featured a bio of Jodi's team following national finals. It may be read here.
Jodi currently lives in Colorado Springs, CO. Her daughters, Josie, Jordan and Janelle (pictured above) were all involved in Bible Quiz. Jordan was also a national champion, in 2001.
Billy Muniz quizzed for Calvary Temple A/G in Riverside, California in the late 70s and early 80s and led his team to three straight second place finishes. In 1978, his team found themselves in a three-way playoff with Pasadena, MD and Bastrop, LA for second place an, which they won on the last question. The also finished second the next year, in 1979. The following year, 1980 they were the odds on favorite going into nationals. After the round robin, four teams were tied at 5-2 and Riverside once again ended up second after a the four-way playoff, losing to Bigelow, AR. Coach JoAnn Collins recalled, years later, that the fact that Riverside, a team of all boys, insisted on having lunch with Bigelow, a team of all girls, just before the playoff, might have had something do with the loss! The only year we know Billy's individual placement is 1980, where he was top scorer, averaging 84.29 points per game.
Rhett Laurens, who often found himself on the other said of the table as Billy said of him, "Billy was a formidable opponent because he combined a very friendly and humble demeanor with a lethal arsenal of skills at the quizzing table; he thus took many competitors by surprise. He also was one of the most consistently strong quizzers at the national level from year to year, and led his team to 3 consecutive second-place finishes at National Finals. He was able to win many matches with his innate ability to interrupt at just the right moment, while at the same time his gentle spirit and warm personality made him one of the most-liked quizzers of the late 1970s and early 1980s. In this way, Billy Muniz represented the very best of Bible Quiz and is one of its shining stars."
National coordinator Terry Carter once said that the Riverside was a model Bible Quiz team. They were very focused, and greatly skilled, in the match, but outside the match, they were extremely friendly and sportsmanlike. They even used to offer to pray with other teams before the match.
Today, Billy is the assistant warden at a correctional institution in California. He has commented that he has an even greater respect for Paul, who wrote many of his epistles from prison.
Paul Freitag quizzed in the early 1980's for Bethel A/G, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He holds the distinction of getting the first perfect match at national finals in regulation play (we believe one might have been achieved in a playoff earlier). This happened the first match of national finals in 1982. Paul followed this up with a 150 and 140. In the end, he finished in third, only 60 points behind top scorer Ken Henderson, but still breaking 100 points per game. His team finished tied for third. Paul returned the next year 1983 and repeated his third place finish with an average of 80.71 points per game. His team finished fourth.
Following graduation, Paul remained involved with quiz, as an official and a question writer, writing the official questions in 1987. He is most known today for the role he plays at nationals finals. For over 20 years, Paul has been the man the officials go to when a team appeals a decision. He knows the rules very well and is able to affirm whether the correct decision was made or not. It is also believe that at nationals this year, Paul will be the person with the most consecutive national appearances, having come every single year since 1982.
Today, Paul is Vice-President for Advancement at North Central University.
Sean quizzed four years at National Finals, 1981, 1983, 1984 and 1985 for Renton A/G in Renton, WA, missing only in 1982, when only one team moved on from both district and regional finals. One of his coaches remembers him as a "complete quizzer", one who had come up through the ranks and learned the game at every level, which gave him the ability to be as dominate on 10's as on 20's and 30's. More importantly, he was known as a quizzer who hungered more for the understanding of scripture than for the game itself.
Sean quizzed in an era (like a 38-year era) which many have referred to as "The Wild, Wild West" or "The Bad Old Days" of question completion. At this time, the official writer produced questions only for district through national finals, never writing any practice sets and never offering information about their style. Due to inconsistencies from question to question, it often could take 20 or more seconds just to complete the question, and the answers were extremely short compared to modern-day questions.
Sean and his team, with Kari Brodin as captain, arrived at National Finals in 1981 knowing they had the ability to win, but faced a tough field with more than a few teams capable of winning their own championship. His team finished in a three-way tie for first, and rather than letting nerves take over, approached the playoffs like a team on a mission. They won the National Championship, the first for the Northwest Region, and while Sean finished as 3rd scorer on his team, he dominated the 10-point quizzers. His captain remembers that without his points they never had a chance to win. Equally impressive was his ability, at a young age, to bring the team together through his verbal encouragement and can-do attitude at the quiz table.
The following year, 1982, was a year of rebuilding after graduating top quizzers. The team lost at regionals, but returned to National Finals in 1983 with Sean as the captain, and finished in 7th place. Much of the individual scoring data has been lost over time, but Sean led his team in scoring. At National Finals in 1984 a new format was used in which 16 teams competed in two groups of eight teams, which was followed by playoffs in each division and then between the two divisions to determine the winner. Sean's team finished in a multi-way tie somewhere in the middle of the pack, but Sean moved up into the top ten, finishing 7th. His coach said he was the driving force behind this team in 1984 & 1985. "He was like having a second coach, and in fact I really only came on toward the end of the season to provide some support, it was his expertise, experience, drive, passion, and vision that led the team."
Sean's final competition, and strongest individual performance, was at the 1985 National Finals. He lead his team to a 3rd place finish and was the 3rd high scorer with 104.29 points per game. Although his average has been surpassed many times in the modern era with its more standardized question styles, at that time any average over 100ppg was considered quite impressive.
Following graduation Sean remained active in Bible Quiz as an official, question writer and coach, always looking for opportunities to give back to the program he loved. He graduated from North Central University, where he and Jerome Tang had coached the Farmington, MN team. Sean wrote the official questions in 1993 and was one of the first to offer consistent, quizzer-friendly questions that were easy to interrupt for those who were extremely well prepared. While the questions were easy to complete, his answers were the first to start raising the bar on long answers and concordance work. Moving back to the Northwest, Sean then coached at Renton A/G for a few years, taking them to Nationals in 1990. Sean is happily married with three children and again lives in the North Central area of the country, where he coaches his own children and serves as a very active lay leader in his church.
Daryn Trout quizzed for Allison Park, PA in the 1990s, and he holds a few important distinctions. Daryn is one of two of the first quizzers in history to compete at National Finals for six consecutive years. He (along with Rochelle Cathcart from Park Crest A/G in Springfield, MO) made his first trip to Nationals in 1990 as a 7th grader. This was unusual, because in those days, Nationals teams generally reserved their roster spots for older, more experienced quizzers. With only 16 teams competing out of more than 1200 nationwide, qualifying for Nationals was extremely difficult and usually required significant experience. So a 7th grade quizzer was highly unusual.
Even more unusual was the fact that Allison Park was making only their second of what would become fourteen consecutive Nationals appearances. This record-setting performance was due to the leadership of coach John Porter and his well-seasoned quizzer, Daryn.
In his first three Nationals (1990, 1991 and 1992, Daryn was learning the ropes and laying the groundwork for future success. In 1993, the team finished 7th and Daryn was the 14th high scorer over the very challenging Gospel of Luke.
1994 was a year of joy and heartbreak for the Allison Park team. They finished very well at every tournament they attended, and were one of the favorites at Nationals. Some disappointing games left them in 7th place, and Daryn, who tied for 15th in scoring, was hungry for more.
Heading into the 1995 season, there were many unknowns. NIV was introduced, creating a lot of issues for veteran quizzers who were familiar with the more lyrical KJV. The questions were difficult to read for key words, and there were a number of competitive teams. But Daryn was determined to make his mark in his senior year. At the end of 19 games, Allison Park finished with a 16-3 record, tied for 1st place with their Northeast rival, Syracuse, NY. This was the first tie for the championship in the expansion era, and it brought the first championship playoff. In the end, Daryn led his experienced team to victory, and the National title Allison Park had sought was finally in their grasp. Daryn also secured his first top-10 scoring placement, tying for 10th.
Daryn's comparatively low individual finishes may raise questions, but they shouldn't. Allison Park was long known as an extremely balanced team, and the hallmark of their team was competitive balance. It's what made them such an effective team. Even if one quizzer struggled, another would be able to step in and fill the gap, making them lethal to face in every game. When asked about Daryn, coach John Porter said, "He was probably one of my top 3 quizzers of all time. He was a leader by example, with incredible accuracy and interruption skills. He always had a great attitude and certainly led the team when we won Nationals."
Today, Daryn lives in Maryland and is a distinguished police officer.
Daniel Slater quizzed in Michigan, qualifying for Nationals three times, 1994-96. His first National Finals, 1994, as a sophomore, was his most successful. He was part of the St. Clair Shores team that seemed to come out of nowhere to win the title, upsetting several more established Nationals contenders. Daniel finished 9th in scoring, his first of three top-twelve finishes.
In 1995, St. Clair Shores nearly repeated their success, finishing 3rd and proving that their 1994 run was no fluke. The talented Michigan team could quiz. Daniel finished 12th in scoring from the balanced team.
1996 was a different year for Daniel. His family moved to Beulah, MI in his senior year, and Daniel was left with the daunting task of trying to lead a fresh team to Nationals success in his final year. At Nationals, Beulah led the way for several rounds, succumbing to some tough losses in the last day and winding up 5th, an impressive result for the savvy veteran. More notably, Daniel was the overall top individual scorer, the only quizzer to average over 100 points per game, and besting his closest rival by more than 300 points.
Daniel Slater was a focused, skilled competitor and a first-rate hitter. He handled long quotations and difficult concordance well, and demonstrated great success at Nationals as an individual and as part of a great team.
Today, Daniel lives with his wife and three children in Tennessee, and serves on the faculty at Union University.
Peter was known by everyone in quiz for his quiet demeanor, friendly smile, and voracious desire to study and live out God's word.
Peter quizzed at National Finals from 2000-2003 for two different teams from two different regions. He began quizzing with Tacoma Life Center, Tacoma, WA with Rich Nelson as his coach. Peter's first year at finals, 2000 found his team quizzing in the Challenger Division where they finished 7th, and Peter was 2nd high scorer with 83.42 points per game. His Tacoma team returned intact to the 2001 finals where they moved up to the Championship Bracket and Peter finished 33rd with an average of 23.68. His coach said Peter had a natural talent for memorizing and retaining massive amounts of material, but chronically had issues completing questions. Playing against top quizzers at the 2001 finals, Peter said he felt forced to hit even earlier, but knew he was missing something that everyone else seemed to have figured out about hitting questions in the perfect spot.
In 2001, Peter's family moved to California where Peter began quizzing for the team at Orange Hills. His coach quickly found that Peter would learn everything asked of him and was eager to practice, but he had never figured out the patterns the writers were using - not seeing that there were such a broad range of questions which always followed their own patterns. Explaining these patterns to Peter was like watching a light-bulb go off over his head and then explode. His coach, Mel Aou, proceeded to explain each non-generic type of question and reinforce it continually in practice. Peter's entire outlook on studying changed. He started finding groups of difficult answers in the sections, chapters, and books, learning how many multiple part answers were available and how many consecutive verse complete answers/quotations there were. His ability to catalog so much material allowed him to often hit on the first sound of the first word of the question based on the opening remarks, knowing how many of which types there were in each area of scripture, which removed the guesswork. Having mastered not only the material but the styles, he became nearly unstoppable on 30's and 20's. He would study all week and then practice two days in a row on the weekend. The last three weeks before nationals in 2002 he put in approximately 50-60 hours per week perfecting his craft.
Peter had found two eager teammates in Ricky Haney and David Dorey at Orange Hills. Together they set a goal of winning a championship. At National Finals in 2002, Peter continued his amazing year of growth by helping his team win an undefeated championship (which had only been done once since expansion in 1984), and then going on to claim the high scorer title. He said he had dreamed for years about winning those titles, but never thought he would set records. The team tied for best record and finished with the 2nd highest score in the history of BQ. Peter's only disappointment was that he hadn't won the individual competition.
Peter returned to the 2002-2003 season without Ricky, who had graduated, and with a goal of tying the 2002 team and high score performance, and completing his dream for the individual competition. The year was plagued with long-term illnesses for Peter, and it wasn't even certain that he would be up to quizzing at National Finals. In the end, he supported David, who was the team's high scorer that year, and they finished with another undefeated championship. His goal of repeating as high scorer was dashed, but with a look of steely determination he doubled his efforts and took the individual competition title. His third goal accomplished, he graduated that year knowing he could master anything he set his mind to doing.
Peter later graduated from Grove City College and now lives in Arizona. He is currently contemplating going back to school for a degree in law or political science. In 2004 he consulted on a bestselling book about President Ronald Reagan's personal faith and the impact it had on his leadership.
Josh quizzed at National Finals from in 2007, 2008 and 2009 in the early years of what would become one of the best teams in the history of Bible Quiz. Along with his two brothers, Jesse and Daniel, his team became only the fourth since the 1984 expansion to win an undefeated national title. What many may not know is that the Wagner family are Canadian citizens, which also made the 2008 championship the first by legal aliens.
Josh was, in fact, the person who introduced Bible Quiz to his family. While they were attending a non-AG church, Josh made friends with some teens from Owasso First Assembly who told him about quizzing. Although his brothers seemed a little skeptical at first, they slowly warmed to the idea and their family started attending Owasso First Assembly where the boys joined the quiz team.
Their first appearance at Nationals Finals was a great learning experience, and they as finished 16th while Josh was the 5th high scorer, winning the quoting bee. However, the team returned home with a goal of becoming one of the greatest teams ever. That may have seemed lofty at the time, but just as Owasso decided to kick their studying into high gear, a new writer came along whose style leveled the playing field. Aaron Kohler's questions were some of the easiest to interrupt, yet had some of the most lengthy cross-referenced answers ever asked. The only advantage any team could gain was to memorize every reasonable concordance and chapter analysis item, and Owasso did just that.
Josh and his team returned to National Finals in 2008 as a team on fire. They ended with a perfect 19 wins and 0 losses. Josh, their high scorer, again placed 5th individually - a move all the more impressive when you consider that his teammates finished 7th and 20th. He also repeated his quoting bee win. Not since 1999 had a team learned the material at such a high level, and that overwhelming knowledge advantage made Owasso seem like they were quizzing at light-speed while most everyone else was nearly standing still. With Josh as captain, the team put on a spectacular two-year performance that set the standard for everyone else.
When Owasso returned to the 2009 finals, they were the odds-on favorite to win back to back titles, and win they did. Their final win-loss record of 18 and 1 secured another team victory in stunning fashion, and Josh again led the team as 7th high scorer, with his brothers close behind at 11th & 18th place. Having such a strong team certainly diminished his individual placement since he would let his teammates have first chance at most re-read questions. However, as with so many other great captains of championship teams, he considered team accomplishments to be the ultimate goal, with individual awards being icing on the cake.
Throughout high school, Josh's in-depth knowledge of scripture was a constant source of strength and confidence as he partnered with the Holy Spirit and spoke to groups of thousands at various Christian rallies and conferences around the world, often in nations that are openly hostile to Christianity. To complete his education before entering full-time ministry as an evangelist, Josh currently attends Oral Roberts University on a full-ride scholarship. He was recently married and lives happily with his new family in the Tulsa, OK area.