Canton student wins ‘Jeopardy’ High School Reunion tournament

The Creekview High School student pockets $100,000.
Justin Bolsen, a Canton resident who attends Brown University, won $100,000 in the 2023 High School Reunion Tournament that concluded Thursday, March 9, 2023. JEOPARDY



Justin Bolsen, a Canton resident who attends Brown University, won $100,000 in the 2023 High School Reunion Tournament that concluded Thursday, March 9, 2023. JEOPARDY

Justin Bolsen, a Brown University freshman from Canton, took home $100,000 for winning the “Jeopardy” High School Reunion tournament.

The tourney featured 27 former “Jeopardy” participants of prior high school tournaments from 2018 and 2019. Bolsen previously competed in 2019 as a high school freshman.

“Jeopardy,” which airs weekdays in Atlanta on 11Alive, concluded the tournament with a two-day final. The person with the highest collective dollar amount over two games won. Bolsen ended up beating Vanderbilt junior Jackson Jones, a Louisville, Kentucky resident, who took home $50,000 and Emory University senior and Peachtree City resident Maya Wright, who pocketed $25,000.

“I feel very lucky,” Bolsen said in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution before his winning episode aired Thursday. “But I also put the work in so I feel very accomplished as well.”

During Thursday’s episode, Bolsen was able to correctly answer who won the college football championship over TCU, an $800 question in the first round under the category “College Sports.” (University of Georgia, of course.)

In the end, Bolsen took home the prize by a mere $363, in part, he said because Jones missed a crucial Daily Double in the second round in the “opera” category and couldn’t catch up. He also was relieved the Final Jeopardy clue on Thursday was relatively easy because he knew if he bet everything and won, the other two players couldn’t catch up even if they too bet their entire pot. That is, in fact, exactly what happened.

The subject was “Landmarks” and the clue was: “After its completion in the late 19th century, it was called a ‘truly tragic street lamp’ and a ‘high and skinny pyramid of iron ladders.’ The answer: “What is the Eiffel Tower?”

Bolsen said he figured it out contextually, guaranteeing him the win.

Since he found out in October he was going back on the show, he said he aggressively prepped on topics like literature, pop culture and fine arts. “Quiz bowl techniques I picked up from middle and high school helped me,” he said, and his ability to time the buzzer felt sharper this go around.

The “Jeopardy” editors accidentally posted the score results of Wednesday’s game, causing some consternation among “Jeopardy” fans on the Reddit page for the game show. Bolsen heard about it but was glad it at least happened on night one and didn’t give away the final result.

Bolsen, who graduated from Creekview High School last year and may major in economics and international and public affairs at Brown, will compete in the Tournament of Champions this fall. At age 18, he will be the youngest competitor.

“It’s going to be crazy,” Bolsen said in the press release. “I think everybody knows that people who go on mega-streaks are really, really good, so I can only hope to do my best against them. We’ll see what they have in store for me.”

As many “Jeopardy” champs do nowadays, he now aggressively jumps around the board hunting for Daily Doubles, a strategy James Holzhauer perfected in 2019 on his way to pocketing more than $2.4 million in regular-game play, the second-most in “Jeopardy” history. He said he played that way in 2019 as well right before Holzhauer appeared.