PARISHVILLE - Grinning from ear to ear while her response was read aloud by the iconic Alex Trebek, Parishville resident Cori Wilhelm realized what she had just accomplished in winning Jeopardy!
On Fridays pre-recorded edition of the world-renowned classic game show, Ms. Wilhelm took on fellow challenger A.C. (Iowa City, Iowa) as well as two day champion Damian Henri (Shaker Heights, OH).
The 2000 Parishville-Hopkinton Central School graduate entered Final Jeopardy! leading the way with $10,200, but led A.C. and Damian by dangerously close margins of $1,200 and $1,300 respectively.
Fast forward one category, one clue, and one historic moment later and Ms. Wilhelm has learned that she has not only won $18,001, but the impressive title of Jeopardy! champion as well.
Ms. Wilhelm, who received an undergraduate degree from St. Lawrence University, a masters degree from SUNY Potsdam, and an additional one from the University of Buffalo, currently works as a librarian at SUNY Canton.
The daughter of Parishville residents Llona I. and Fred, she had her competition during the summer, but the actual airing of her first episode was on Friday. Both parents were in attendance in L.A. for her daughters first big day.
Cori Wilhelm, college librarian from Parishville, N.Y. whose mom is a big Jeopardy fan. How big a fan? Mr. Trebek asked during the contestant introduction segment Friday. She is a fanatic, you might say. She used to call us on her way home if she was going to miss any of Jeopardy and wed have to get a VHS tape and get the right tape in at the right time to hit record. Now of course we have DVR. Her cell phone also, every time it rings its the Jeopardy music, Ms. Wilhelm replied.
Llona even received a personal shout out during the episode from Mr. Trebek.
Shes in the audience tonight? Hey mom. Thank you so much. Youve kept us on the air for 30 years, Mr. Trebek said.
With responses ranging from Who is Justin Bieber? to What is a souffle? Ms. Wilhelm was consistent and aggressive through the first two rounds of play. During round 1, she answered a $1,000 question correctly, but also missed a $1,000 question among other mostly correct responses.
At the conclusion of first round play, Ms. Wilhelm was in second place with $2,600. A.C. stormed out ahead with $7,800 and Mr. Henri had $1,200 at the first intermission.
She answered nine questions correct during round 2, despite having no daily double chances. The nine correct responses included a $2,000 and two $1,200 questions.
Entering Final Jeopardy and with Ms. Wilhelm holding a very slim lead, the contestants faced the category Countries of the World. A commercial break followed and the trio deliberated what their final wagers would be.
By population, its the largest country in the world without nuclear weapons was the clue. After 30 seconds of intense thinking Mr. Trebek spoke to the contestants.
Damian, youre looking very happy with yourself. Lets see why. You wrote down What is Indonesia? You picked the correct country and your wager? A modest $6,500, taking you up to $15,400 and into the lead as we go to A.C., Mr. Trebek said.
After Mr. Trebek revealed A.C.s incorrect response of China, that was when Ms. Wilhelm knew her fate.
So its up to Cori Wilhelm now. Look at the smile. Did she get Indonesia? Yes, he said. Did she risk enough? She has! $7,801 and she is the Jeopardy champion today.
Ms. Wilhelm will compete again on Monday on a shown airing locally at 7 p.m. on WWNY-tv channel 7 and WPTZ-tv channel 5.
Ms. Wilhelm was unavailable for comment following the airing of the Oct. 4 episode.