Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Charlotte native finishes 2nd in 'Jeopardy!' finals

Keith Whitener, 29, of Charlotte, claimed second place and $100,000 in the Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions episode on Tuesday night.

The Myers Park High School and UNC Chapel Hill grad, one of the top 15 winners ever on the show, was runner-up to Colby Burnett, a history teacher from Chicago who won the $250,000 grand prize. Kristin Morgan, a strategic analyst at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., finished third and took home $50,000.

“I honestly couldn’t believe I had made it [to the final game],” said Whitener, a research chemist, in a press release. “It was really amazing. Just making it to the final was honor enough for me.”

“During the regular season run, there were a few days where I was basically on autopilot, and I wasn’t really worried about how I would perform," he said. "The Tournament of Champions is a completely different animal; the pace was just so demanding.”

Whitener won $147,597 in his initial run on "Jeopardy!"; he hasn’t decided yet what he will do with his winnings.

“It’s a heck of a lot of money. My wife and I may eventually use it toward a house,” Whitener said. “We’re sitting on a little bit of it in case an interesting investment opportunity presents itself, or if I want to strike off on my own after my fellowship at the Naval Research Lab is done.”