Communication junior loses in semifinal of ‘Jeopardy! College Championship’

Paulina Firozi, Development Editor

Communication junior Dan Donohue was eliminated Monday from “Jeopardy! College Championship,” finishing third in the semifinal round of the tournament.

Donohue led for part of the show, but sophomore Trevor Walker from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ran ahead with a lead going into Final Jeopardy. Only one competitor, Scripps College junior Hannah Shoenhard, answered the last question correctly, but her total of $5,200 put her in second place.

Walker won with a score of $17,199, giving him a berth in the tournament’s final round. Donohue finished last with $2.
Donohue led going into Double Jeopardy, with $6,200 and his opponents tied at $2,400. But he incorrectly answered “What is Denmark?” to a question about Queen Christina of Sweden abdicating her throne and moving to Rome, which cost him $2,000 and a chance to answer the subsequent Daily Double question. Donohue never regained the lead, with Walker correctly answering every question leading up to Final Jeopardy and ending with $19,600.

Entering Final Jeopardy, Donohue rounded out with $11,000 and Shoenhard with $5,200. Shoenhard bet nothing going into the last question, correctly answering “Who is Ray Bradbury?” to the clue “When Curiosity touched down on Mars in 2012, its landing site was named in honor of this author, who died weeks before.” Walker and Donohue both answered incorrectly with answers of “Who is Arthur C. Clarke?” and “Who is Sagan?”

Despite trailing, Walker’s miss opened the door for Donohue to win — if had he answered correctly. Had both answered correctly, Walker’s bet of $2,401 would have put him ahead of Donohue by $1.

Earlier Monday, Donohue discussed his opponents going into the round on Chicago radio station 89 WLS with NU alumni Bruce Wolf (Medill ‘75) and Dan Proft (Weinberg ‘94). The junior said he was not able to watch Shoenhard’s show because it was taped before his quarterfinal round, but he watched Walker’s episode and was nervous about his strategy. Walker won his quarterfinal round in what Donohue called a “locked game,” entering Final Jeopardy with more than twice his opponents’ totals.

“His total dollar amount was still less than mine,” Donohue said to Wolf and Proft. “He won a game with less money than I lost a game. … I didn’t know if he was going to be like that again or if he was kind of a sleeping giant, so it was an interesting matchup.”

Like he did during the quarterfinal round, Donohue posted live on Twitter while the show aired, interacting with fans and retweeting comments about him. He joked about the way he answered questions and the wording of the categories.

As the show ended and the Final Jeopardy answers were revealed, he posted on Twitter, “Go big or go home, right? #jeopardy.”