Although she didn’t win the $100,000 grand prize in the “Jeopardy!” College Championship finals Friday night, Sarah Dubnik walked away with bragging rights and enough money to travel wherever she pleases.
The Pitt senior chemistry and computer science major finished third in the competition, winning $25,000 for her efforts. Though the competition took place in early January, the results aired on television last week, concluding with the two-round finale on Friday and Saturday.
After taking the lead over UC Berkeley’s Niki Peters and the University of Southern California’s eventual champion Sam Deutsch in the final’s first round by $3,401 and $1, respectively, Dubnik dropped to $0 after missing on a John Paul Jones quote in the second round’s true Daily Double Saturday night.
Dubnik quickly recovered, though, and was in good standing going into Final Jeopardy. But, she incorrectly answered a question on Vice President Joe Biden’s congressional tenure and finished the second round with $0.
Despite these setbacks, Dubnik has only one regret about the final match.
“What I regret is just not being more confident in general in that round,” she said. “If I did anything differently, I would have rang in on quite a few more questions than I did — questions that I just hesitated on at the time because of uncertainty when I would have actually been right.”
Some would say luck wasn’t on Dubnik’s side that night, and she partially agrees.
“Sure, it was partially luck — it always is with ‘Jeopardy,’” she said. “I was also lucky to get as far as I did. It was bad luck that I got that particular question for my Daily Double.”
But Dubnik also cited poor buzzer timing, lack of confidence and mental fatigue from having already played two matches right before. Regardless, the entire Pitt community was proud to have a Panther as a finalist in the “Jeopardy!” College Championship.
“I speak on behalf of the entire Pitt community when I say that I am extremely proud of Sarah. It was exciting to see her compete and represent Pitt so well,” Chancellor Patrick Gallagher said in an email. “Congratulations on a great run!”