Southern Adventist Student Takes Third Place
in Jeopardy! College Championship Finals
Hans von Walter wins $25,000; Boston U. student took top prize
Hans von Walter, the first Southern Adventist University student to appear on the Jeopardy! College Championship, finished the televised competition in third place, winning $25,000.
Erin McLean, an 18-year-old marine science and English major at Boston University (BU), took first place—earning $100,000 in cash winnings—and became the university's first-ever champion. McLean outscored 14 undergraduates from across the country during the two-week competition. Sam Spaulding, a sophomore at Yale University, finished second in the competition, winning $50,000.
Fighting back from a tremendous deficit – von Walter, a junior, ended the first game of a two-part final with $0 after scoring a negative $6,000 during regular play – Hans went on in the second part to earn approximately $17,000 including a win of $4,000 on a “true daily double” where he doubled his winnings at that point. The final prize awards are established by show rules: the top scoring contestant gets the $100,000; second place gets $50,000 and third place $25,000.
PRIZE-WINNER: Hans von Walter, a junior at SAU in Collegedale, Tennessee, won $25,000 for his third-place finish on the “Jeopardy!” College Championship. [Photo: Courtesy Jeopardy Productions, Inc.]
“Even though I ended up in third place, I was so proud of myself for recovering from the dismal first game and ending on such a good note,” von Walter wrote in a blog entry on the Jeopardy! Web site
. “I was so ecstatic for Erin, my fellow quarterfinalist, and Sam, my fellow Raleigh auditione[r], that the fact that I’d lost never once registered in my mind. I was, frankly, more of a winner for being given the opportunity to meet these amazing people and being able to live out a lifelong dream than for any dollar amount I won.”
His performance in the first half of the final match was disappointing, von Walter conceded: “whatever Sam and Erin had decided to do was just better. In my first game, we all laughed off an early triple in-the-hole moment, but somehow, I was just never able to recover. As I watched Sam and Erin speed away from me while I sat there in the hole, I grew more and more tense; I was slowly forgetting to relax, and how that had helped me tremendously in the semifinals. With an epic score of negative $6,000, I watched in pain as Sam and Erin missed a ‘Final Jeopardy!’ [question to which] I knew [the answer] before Alex had finished reading [it].”
He then wrote about finding a solution to the dilemma: “Something about that game slapped me in the face with a little dose of, ‘Hans, you’re never going to play this game again. HAVE THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE.’ And with that, I entered the final game, rather ironically, in high spirits, despite sitting on a $0 subtotal. I felt myself once again loosening up and just plain having fun.”
Von Walter is the first representative of his school to appear on Jeopardy!
is the winner of 28 Emmy awards since its debut in 1984, and was inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records for the most awards won by a TV Game Show. The series is the number 1-rated quiz show in syndication with nearly 9 million daily viewers. Jeopardy!
is produced by Sony Pictures Television, a Sony Pictures Entertainment Company.
-- Reported by Adventist Review staff.