Illinois alumnus competes on ‘Jeopardy!’ for second time

By Emily Sokolik

A University alumnus competed in the second round of the “Jeopardy!” Tournament of Champions, Monday.

Chris Mazurek, a psychology professor at Columbia College in Columbia, Mo., graduated from the University in 1993 and went on to earn his Ph.D. in psychology.

Mazurek made his debut on “Jeopardy!” last year after taking a 50-question video quiz and going through an interview in St. Louis with the producers of the show.

“I guess I did well on the test or they liked the looks of me or something,” he said.

Mazurek played for four days as a champion when he first competed on the show in October 2006.

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He was defeated on the fifth day, but still won nearly $77,000 in prize money. He was also asked to return as a contestant on the show’s Tournament of Champions.

The Tournament of Champions is a two-week event featuring 15 of the longest-running contestants from past seasons.

The tournament lasts for 10 episodes until the contestants are narrowed down to three. The final three contestants then compete for two episodes until a champion is chosen.

Mazurek won the first round of the tournament and appeared last night for the semifinals but was eliminated.

He said he was excited to appear on the show but also unsure about how he would perform.

“Starting off, I just didn’t want to embarrass myself,” he said. “You don’t have a clue what they’re going to ask you.”

A fan of the show since high school, Mazurek said he would have liked to interact more with Alex Trebek, the show’s host.

“He’s a decent guy,” he said. “I wish I had gotten to know him better. I’m sure he has some interesting stories.”

Mazurek looks back fondly on his days as a student at the University.

He attributes some of his success on the show to the diversity of classes he took at the University.

“College was a great experience for me,” he said.