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Mattea Roach loses in Jeopardy! tournament of champions semifinal

Mattea Roach lost Friday in the semifinals of the Jeopardy! tournament of champions, losing to a contestant who had a runaway victory.

The 23-year-old, who is from Nova Scotia and now lives in Toronto, earned entry into the tournament by winning 23 consecutive games to mark the fifth-longest streak ever on Jeopardy!, collecting more than $750,000 Cdn.

The tournament of champions saw her matched against Andrew He, a software developer from San Francisco, and Eric Ahasic, a meteorologist from Minneapolis.

All three contestants were stumped in Final Jeopardy, with none of them venturing a guess. The answer was, “To fight malaria, this former royal estate helped move quinine-producing cinchona plants from South America to India.”

The correct response was, “What is Kew Gardens?”

He will move on to the finals on Monday, after ending the game with $37,863 US in a runaway victory.

Roach finished in third place with $7,200 US, but earned $10,000 US for her appearance.

Ahasic finished in second with $16,783, but earned $10,000 US for his appearance.

Family says it’s been ‘great fun’

Prior to Friday’s game, Roach continued her impressive record by winning an exhibition match against other champions that aired on Wednesday with her family and friends watching back in Nova Scotia.

“It was great fun,” Phil Roach, Mattea’s father, told CBC News. “I think part of the fun is sharing it with our family here in Halifax.”

Reflecting on his daughter’s magical first run, he said the success and money hasn’t affected her.

“She’s very grounded,” Phil said. “She hasn’t made any real substantive changes to her life.”

The biggest change, Mattea’s father said, is that his daughter has turned into a bit of a celebrity and now people recognize her.

“She really appreciates the support. She enjoys it despite being a very private person,” Phil said.

mattea roach loses in jeopardy tournament of champions semifinal
Phil Roach says his daughter’s fame hasn’t changed who she is. (CBC)

The spotlight has brought Mattea opportunities she may otherwise not have had, her father said. He said his daughter had planned to go to law school, but after her first run on Jeopardy!, she decided to defer her acceptance.

Mattea started a podcast about Canadian politics and is considering writing a book, Phil said.

“There are things that have come along that she would describe as maybe something that she considered doing in 10 years time,” he said. “But this exposure has given her the opportunity for her to do it now.”

Phil isn’t concerned about what Mattea will do next. He said he always knew his daughter would be successful at whatever she chose to do.

“It’s just a real pleasure to see a child succeed,” Phil said. “That’s really gratifying. We have three boys and we support them and, you know, we take pleasure in their successes too.”


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