HomeEntertainment‘Jeopardy!’ Tournament of Champions Finalist Sam Kavanaugh Says He Admires His Competitors ‘Guts’

‘Jeopardy!’ Tournament of Champions Finalist Sam Kavanaugh Says He Admires His Competitors ‘Guts’

by John Jamison
(Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

When you’re a good enough “Jeopardy!” player, there’s a point at which it becomes impossible for competitors to win the game.

If you rack up a big enough lead, there’s no way for the other players to outscore you. What that also means is that players with runaway leads are essentially gambling with their newfound money. It takes a gutsy player to keep their foot on the gas. And Tournament of Champions finalist Sam Kavanaugh sees that trait in his opponents.

Kavanaugh holds a sizeable lead heading into the second day of the “Jeopardy!” Tournament of Champions” finals. The teacher from Minnesota earned $38,000 last night, putting him firmly out in front of his competitors. Jennifer Quail is in second place with $14,500 and Veronica Vichit-Vadakan is in third with $6,400.

The three competitors are all at the top of their game. Veronica, a librarian from Oregon, is a 4-time “Jeopardy!” winner with earnings totaling $89,001. Jennifer, a wine tasting consultant from Michigan, is an eight-time winner with career earnings of $228,800. Finally, Sam is a 5-time winner and has earned $156,202 in his time on “Jeopardy!”

Recently, all three of them sat down to talk about their expectations ahead of the final round. And the current leader offered his thoughts on Veronica and Jennifer.

“It’s funny, Jennifer. After your first game, I remember watching that game, and just seeing you with a huge runaway and a huge bet, and just thinking, ‘Oh no. I might have to play her.’ And then same with Veronica. In your fourth game, I think, you had quite a big runaway. And like, with a runaway, that’s betting real money, and there’s no reason Veronica needed to bet. And she just threw like 10,000 on the table,” Sam said. “There’s a lot of guts there…”

‘Jeopardy!’ Tournament Of Champions Finalist Has ‘So Much Respect’ For Fellow Players

Guts aside, Sam Kavanaugh was quick to praise the sheer ability of his competitors. They’re both accomplished “Jeopardy!” contestants and he respects their intelligence.

“I’m trying not to focus on myself at the moment. Just because that’s going to throw me off a little bit,” Kavanaugh continued. “But like looking at the competition and just like, I don’t know, you two in particular. But all of the players here, I just have so much respect for you as players.”

As the current leader, the “Jeopardy!” Tournament of Champions is Sam Kavanaugh’s to lose. Although, by his own admission, the level of his competition should make for an exciting finish.

The tournament finishes up tonight, and a new champion will be crowned. Be sure to tune in and follow along with Outsider for all things “Jeopardy!”