Junior Falls In Jeopardy! Tournament Semis

Elise Foley

By Elise Foley The Daily Northwestern

Competing in the semifinals of the Jeopardy! College Championships, Weinberg junior Dean Malec went into Final Jeopardy! with $11,100 and lost it all, but he still walked away with $10,000.

In the final segment of the episode that aired Wednesday, Malec lost all the money he had earned, having wagered it all on the answer, “In this Ibsen play, Nora tells her husband she’s been one of these to him, just as she was to her father.”

Malec guessed “daughter.”

“I knew it was wrong, and I had wagered all my money,” Malec said as he watched himself with a group of about 15 friends in a lounge at Willard Residential College. “But it was good while it lasted.”

For making it as far as he did, Malec received a $10,000 prize.

Craig Boge, the contestant from Stanford University, won the round with the correct response, “doll.” He goes on to the two-day final round, which will be aired today and Friday. The grand prize for the tournament is $100,000.

Malec told his friends not to be too upset that he didn’t win it all.

“Even if I would have said ‘doll’, he still bid enough to beat me,” Malec said.

Malec traveled to California last month to film the shows on which he appeared. Some of his friends who traveled with him already knew the results; but since all contestants and audience members were sworn to secrecy, no one else knew how he did until Wednesday.

Even though he didn’t win the entire tournament, Malec said he thoroughly enjoyed his run on Jeopardy! – including a win in the tournament’s quarterfinals in an episode that aired April 30.

Before he left to film the tournament, Malec said he was most looking forward to meeting host Alex Trebek and “to get him to do something ridiculous in (a) picture.” He said he never got to take a picture of Trebek flashing a gang sign, but he did get a picture from the Jeopardy! Web site of Trebek giving him bunny ears.

“It’s my profile picture on Facebook, and it will probably stay my profile picture into infinity,” Malec said. “(Trebek) was actually a very cool guy.”

In his last appearance, Malec incorrectly answered two questions valued at $2,000 – the highest money value on the board – but he said he didn’t regret answering too hastily.

“I’ll be like ‘Why didn’t I ring in on that?’ or ‘Why couldn’t I have hit the buzzer faster?'” Malec said. “I remember thinking I would be really mad at myself if I thought I knew the answer and I didn’t buzz in. I wanted to err on the side of going for it and losing and not being a chicken.”

Malec’s friends at NU said they were glad to see him do so well in the tournament, even though he did not continue to the final round.

“Dean’s a great guy, so we all wanted to support him in Jeopardy!,” said Danny Hamburg, a Weinberg freshman. “I was absolutely heartbroken when he lost, but I felt that Dean did a great job.”

Weinberg freshman Maya Mitchell said she “felt very proud” of Malec, who is a Community Assistant on her floor in Willard.

“I was expecting him to win, but I was OK (when he didn’t) because he was OK,” Mitchell said.

Malec said he was glad to have had the chance to participate in his favorite game show, especially because he probably won’t get the chance again.

“They told us so long as Alex Trebek is the host, we can’t do it again,” Malec said. “So I guess unless the show ends and comes back in some second incarnation, this will be my one shot.”

Reach Elise Foley at [email protected]