May 29—Minnesotan Sam Kavanaugh bested Jennifer Quail and Veronica Vichit-Vadakan on Friday to become the winner of the “Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions.”
Kavanaugh, a Minneapolis substitute teacher originally from Carlton, Minn. — and a 2013 graduate of Carleton College in Northfield, Minn. — won the $250,000 grand prize; Jennifer Quail, a wine tasting consultant from Dowagiac, Mich., claimed $100,000 for her second-place finish; Veronica Vichit-Vadakan, a reference and instruction librarian from Portland, Ore., placed third to earn $50,000.
The $250,000 grand prize will be matched by “Jeopardy!” and donated to the Hope of the Valley Trebek Center for the Homeless, in honor of longtime host of the quiz show, Alex Trebek.
Trebek died in November after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
Kavanaugh won $156,000 during a five-game streak on “Jeopardy!” in 2019. When he became unemployed during the pandemic, he focused on preparing for the “Tournament of Champions.”
Nibir Sarma, the Eden Prairie native and University of Minnesota junior who won the 2020 “Jeopardy! College Championship,” also competed in the “Tournament of Champions” this year but was eliminated in the semifinals after advancing as a wildcard.
Buzzy Cohen, a nine-game winner and former “Tournament of Champions” champion, was the guest host of the tournament. Trebek’s successor hasn’t been announced.