‘Jeopardy!’: Every Contestant Who Made It Past the Opening Round of Professors Tournament

by Leanne Stahulak
(Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

The quarterfinals for the first-ever “Jeopardy!” Professors Tournament wrapped up last week, and we have the list of semi-finalists.

Earlier, 15 professors squared off against each other in five matches. The winner from each of those matches advanced to the semifinals, securing five of nine total spots. And as for the other four spots? Wild cards who earned the most amount of money as non-winners also advanced to the semifinals.

Let’s meet our semi-finalists, shall we?

Here are the Five Winners Who Advanced to the Semifinals in the ‘Jeopardy!’ Professors Tournament

From the first match, which aired earlier on Monday, Dec. 6, we have Gary Hollis. Hollis teaches chemistry at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia. He entered the “Final Jeopardy!” round last week with an impressive runaway lead at $21,000. While he didn’t get the correct answer, Hollis only bet $1,000 on the last question. So, still walked away with the most money.

Next up, we have Marti Canipe. She teaches elementary science education at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. This match was extremely close all throughout, with the three professors entering the “Final Jeopardy!” round within $3,600 of each other. So, though she entered the round in third place, Canipe’s correct answer and $3,000 wager put her ahead of the other two contestants. If either one had answered correctly, we might’ve had another semifinalist.

On Wednesday, operations research professor Sam Buttrey won the match. Buttrey teaches at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He started out with an $18,000 lead over his competitors entering the “Final Jeopardy!” round. No one answered the question correctly, but Buttrey didn’t wager any money. So, he walked away the winner.

Thursday and Friday’s Winners: Big Money and a Close Call

Thursday’s winner, Ed Hashima, turned out to win the highest amount of money out of all the other professors. The history professor at American River College in Sacramento, California, finished the match with an incredible $32,100 and spot in the semifinals. His big win comes as no surprise considering he finished regular “Jeopardy!” play with over $27,000.

Finally, Friday’s semifinalist was Alisa Hove. She’s a botany professor at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina. Like Tuesday’s match, these competitors entered the final round with very close amounts to one another. Less than a $3,000 difference between each other, making it all come down to the “Final Jeopardy!” round. But only Hove answered correctly, securing her spot in the semifinals with $20,000.

And Here We Have Our Wildcards

Another fun tidbit about Friday’s match: Hove wasn’t the only one to advance to the semifinals.

Guest host Mayim Bialik had a little fun introducing the semifinalists and wildcard spots at the end of Friday’s game. You can check it out in the “Jeopardy!” Twitter video below.

Turns out, fellow Friday competitors J.P. Allen and Deborah Steinberger won just enough money to stay in the game. Allen teaches business and innovation at the University of San Francisco. Steinberger is an associate professor of French literature at the Univerity of Delaware in Newark. And what about our other two wildcard spots?

Katie Reed, an associate professor of musicology at Cal State Fullerton, earned enough in Tuesday’s game to advance. And Hester Blum, an English professor at Penn State University in University Park, Pennsylvania, also earned a spot as a wildcard.

Tune in later next week, Outsiders, for the semifinals and final match.