clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

UC Berkeley student Niki Peters finishes 2nd in Jeopardy College Championship Final!

Excuse me while I geek out and write about Jeopardy!

UC Berkeley student Niki Peters is one of the three students vying for the $100,000 prize
UC Berkeley student Niki Peters is one of the three students vying for the $100,000 prize
Jeopardy Productions

Niki finished 2nd and won $50,000! Congrats to her!

UC Berkeley sophomore Niki Peters won second place - and $50,000 - in the final round of Jeopardy! College Championship, which aired today on ABC.

"It was, and is, absolutely insane that I won $50,000," despite "knowledge gaps" and getting sick during the tournament, Peters said of her finish.

University of Southern California junior Sam Deutsh took first place, which came with a $100,000 grand prize. University of Pittsburgh senior Sarah Dubnik finished third.

You can follow her on Twitter below.

Cal sophomore Niki Peters was actually in control of winning the tournament heading into Day 2's Final Jeopardy. After Pitt's Sarah missed out on doubling her score in a risky Double Jeopardy Daily Double, Niki was in control of the match. Niki actually could have locked up the tournament late in Day 2's Double Jeopardy round, a time when she has peaked in her past two games, but chose to be more conservative and sit on the lead.

Consequently, the tournament came down to this Final Jeopardy "answer":


During his Senate service, which lasted from 1973 to January 2009, this man cast 12,810 votes

Do you know the answer to this question for the College Championship?

Personally, I did not get the answer, thinking that it was a senator who has retired/died in 2009 whose name that I could not recall right away. It was only after seeing Pitt's Sarah's terrible guess of "Obama" that I realized that they were going for "Joe Biden" as the answer.

USC's Sam, who may have the edge in this category as he was originally from Bethesda, MD, originally had "Byrd" as his answer, but crossed that out to answer "Biden". He doubled his money to take the lead.

Cal's Niki went with "Byrd" as her answer as well. Robert Byrd, long time senator from West Virginia, passed away in June of 2010. The key to this clue was that January for the Inauguration. With the incorrect answer, Niki finished 2nd on the tournament and took home a nice $50,000 prize.

It is a shame that Niki didn't win the tournament as that would have meant a return to Jeopardy in the Tournament of Champions. Nevertheless, it was a fun and memorable run. Huge congratulations to her for the 2nd place finish and representing University of California, Berkeley well.

Now if Niki read our site more often and brush up on her sports trivia....she would have been unbeatable.



Unless you have not been here or online for the past two weeks, you would know that the CGB as well as a big part of the Cal online community have been super excited about this year's Jeopardy! College Championship.

Niki Peters, a sophomore from Boise, Idaho and an Integrated Biology major, is competing in the two-day championship round, broadcasted on your local station yesterday and today (check local listings) for $100,000 prize as well as an appearance in the Tournament of Champions.

Standing in her way are Pitt's Sarah Dubnik and USC's Sam Deutsch.

Through the first half of the final, Niki has got a bit of work to do, sitting at 3rd place with $18,600, $3601 off the lead hold by Sarah.

The Day 1 Final Jeopardy was a fairly easy question that all three contestants got. Niki got leapfrogged by Sam with the USC student wagering all of his money in the Final Jeopardy.


When this man joined Twitter in September 2015, his first follow was the National Security Agency's account

I'll post the correct answer at the bottom of the post.

Let's look at the finalists' performance by Coryats Score:

Sarah: 13800

Niki: 13600

Sam: 11000

For the uninitiated, Coryats Score is defined as

a player's score if all wagering is disregarded. In the Coryat score, there is no penalty for forced incorrect responseson Daily Doubles, but correct responses on Daily Doubles earn only the natural values of the clues, and any gain or loss from the Final Jeopardy! Round is ignored.

This is the metric used on J! Archive (did you know that almost every game in Jeopardy! history are archived on J! Archive?) and JBoard (a community of Jeopardy! fans and many former contestants) for fans to compare their own at-home performances to that of the contestants.

Through Niki's first two games, quarterfinal and semifinal, she has the top Coryats Score out of the 15 students.

In her semifinal: Niki's score was 14,000 (17 correct, including 2 Daily Doubles, to 3 Wrong)

In her quarterfinal: Niki's score was the very impressive 20,200 (25 correct, including 1 Daily Double, to 2 Wrong). She was considered the favorite after the 5 quarterfinal games.

The numbers above doesn't tell the whole story of how Niki made a late, furious comeback in Double Jeopardy to get within striking distance.

(I pull the data below off a JBoard post, thanks JBoard user BigDaddyMatty)

Score through 46 clues:
Sarah: $17,200
Sam: $11,000
Niki: $2,400

Score over the final 10 clues:
Niki: $11,200
Sarah: $800
Sam: $0

Yes, Niki dominated the end of Double Jeopardy to make a run at the championship. Along the way, she made some enemies online due to her trying to finish the board before the round is over. Coincidentally, if one has ever made it to the in-person audition for Jeopardy!, they tell you that pace of the game is very important. Still, certain folks online despise Niki for cutting host Alex Trebek off. Niki, coincidentally, have been tweeting the comments made by her haters through her Twitter account. You can follow her on @ubaroqueitbuyit.

I think momentum is in Niki's favor. Cal-nepotism aside, I think she is probably the favorite to pull off the tournament victory (airing) tonight.

Finally, we have to talk about Niki's run to the final, mainly that semifinal win over Stanford's Gus Woythaler (the kid who had to answer those questions about Californium and Berkelium).

Niki won her semfinal match in a come-from-behind fashion.

Speaking to The Daily Cal blog, The Daily Clog, Niki has this to say:

Already, Peters has done better than the last UC Berkeley student to compete in the "Jeopardy!" College Championship. Her goal was to get to third place or better, something she has now accomplished. She didn’t want to have to compete against Gus Woythaler, the contestant from Stanford. They were the two highest-scoring contestants in the quarterfinals, so she viewed him as her biggest competition. When they found out they would be competing, she was devastated. "I didn’t want to lose to him and be a Big Game repeat, and I figured if I won I’d make up for at least two or three Big Games," Peters said. Luckily, she won.

So Cal fans, how many Big Games do you think Niki's win is worth?

Should Niki pull off this victory, we may be talking about her performance, while sick apparently, for years. I suspect she will get strong consideration for the CGB Hall of Fame.

Feel free to discuss Niki's Jeopardy! run in the comments below.


*The correct answer to Day 1 Final Jeopardy is Edward Snowden