July 23, 2014

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Olmsted Falls student wins ‘Jeopardy’ college tournament

OLMSTED FALLS — So, what do you do if you win the Jeopardy College Tournament?
You help your parents out and chip in for tuition at Georgetown University.
At least, that’s what Olmsted Falls resident Jim Coury plans to do with his $100,000 winnings from the show — and possibly take a road trip out west to Utah, Montana and Wyoming, and maybe visit Yellowstone National Park.
Coury, a sophomore at Georgetown, appeared four times during the two-week tournament — a quarter-final round, a semi-final, and a two-day final round.
He started the last day of the tournament in third place, but maintained a solid lead against the other two contestants — Trevor Walker from MIT, and Kristen Jolley from Georgia Institute of Technology — throughout the show.
Going in to Final Jeopardy, Jim had a $5,600 lead over the next closest contestant, and the category was “The Civil War.”
“Once I saw the category, I was feeling good,” Coury said. “I like history and the Civil War is kind of my favorite era in history, so I’ve read a lot about it.”
But as often is the case on Jeopardy, it’s not what you know, but how you bet.
“I wanted to bet to win, but I did the math wrong the first time and I kept rounding up,” Coury said. “I ended up betting a lot more than I should have bet.”
Knowledge and betting paid off this time.
Coury was the only one of the three contestants to provide the correct question.
The answer: The last of the 11 states to secede from the Union, it borders six of them.
The question: “What is Tennessee?”
Coury bet $11,789 of his $14,200, bringing his total for the day up to $25,989. His two-day total was $34,589 — more than double Walker and Jolley.
“We were surprised by the size of his bet,” Coury’s father, Michael Coury, revealed after the final episode aired Friday night. “But overall he was playing pretty well that day and we were comfortable he knew the category.”
Coury was consistent with how he played throughout all of the shows, Michael Coury said.
“He brought the same game each day,” he said. “He made big bets and he did that consistently. That’s what he believed he needed to do to win.”
After the taping, all of the families of all of the contestants were invited on stage for a party. The Coury family, and Coury’s coach from his academic team days at Olmsted Falls High School, Rhonna Smith, went out to dinner after to rehash the events of the show.
Now that the final show has aired, Coury is glad to have the results out in the open.
The family held a viewing party on Friday night.
“It was really, really hard not to say anything,” he said. “It’s really nice now that I don’t have to worry about it.”
And the trophy he won that has been tucked away in a box in his parents room since returning from Los Angeles a few months ago can now be shined up and displayed.
Hopefully, the family has a trophy case because Coury will return to Jeopardy for the College Tournament of Champions in the coming months.
Contact Christina Jolliffe at 329-7155 or ctnews@chroniclet.com.