Press Release back to list


Sets New All-Time Record as Tournament’s Highest Money Winner by Earning $79,600

CULVER CITY, CALIF. (May 11, 2012) – Elyse Mancuso, a junior at Elkhorn South High School from Omaha, Neb., has won $79,600 in the “Jeopardy! Teen Tournament,” a record high.  Mancuso outscored 14 competitors from across the country during the two-week competition. 

“Coming in first place and winning nearly $80,000 is a dream come true,” she said.  “It was a lot of pressure, but it turned out to be one of the greatest experiences of my life.  It’s something I’ll never forget.”

Mancuso, 16, said that she was not intimated to compete in front of an audience of thousands at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.  “All I was thinking about was answering the clues correctly,” she said.  However, there was at least one moment in today’s match where she thought about the audience. “I tried to keep a poker face during ‘Final Jeopardy!’” she said.  “I did the math and knew that I was going to win, but wanted to make the game exciting for everyone watching!”

Mancuso credits her success on “Jeopardy!” to her teachers.  She said, “Each of them taught me something that I ended up needing to know.  I didn’t really even practice.”

Regarding her winnings, Mancuso plans to use it towards college tuition.  She is currently looking at several schools, and undecided on what to major in.  “I can’t narrow it down,” she said. "I'm interested in just about everything."

Rose Schaefer, a junior at Portland Christian High School from Portland, Ore., finished second in the tournament and won $36,000.  Third place winner Catherine Briley, a senior at Sacred Heart High School from Grand Prairie, La., took home $31,000.  Since the first Teen Tournament in 1987, more than $3.5 million in cash prizes has been awarded to nearly 400 teenage contestants.

“Jeopardy!,” the winner of a 2012 Peabody award and 29 Emmy awards, including the 2011 Emmy for Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Program, was inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records for the most awards won by a TV Game Show. The series is the #1-rated quiz show in syndication with 25 million viewers each week.  “Jeopardy!” is produced by Sony Pictures Television, a Sony Pictures Entertainment Company. It is distributed domestically by CBS Television Distribution and internationally by CBS Television International, both units of CBS Corp. 



Susie Eun