A junior from Omaha, Nebraska...

Elyse Mancuso

As a teen, what's your favorite thing about Jeopardy!?
My favorite thing about Jeopardy! is it's an excuse to use all the pointless trivia I learned.

If Alex Trebek were a teacher at your school, what subject would he teach?
If Alex Trebek were a teacher at my school, he would probably teach history.

What inspired you to want to compete in the Teen Tournament?
The reason I ended up competing in the Teen Tournament is my mom kept asking me to.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In ten years I see myself working at a job somewhere. I really don't know what I want to do.

Tune in to see who makes the grade and who gets schooled!

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What do you think of the contestants you faced?
They're--everybody here is really awesome. All the kids are great, and I hope I stay in touch with them.

Do you have any shout-outs to friends and family back home?
Hello Mr. Smith's third-hour Calc BC class. I promised I'd say hi to them. Um, hi to my mom, my dad, my little brother Nick, and all my friends and relatives.

Do you have anyone you'd like to thank?
My best friend Kuda who, um, has always shared my love for useless trivia. And, um... my grandparents and my family.

Tell us about your strategy today.
I just came here and decided to have fun with it, and, um, to pick the categories I thought seemed fun, and it's worked out well.

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How does it feel to be a finalist?
I'm feeling really nervous, and really excited, and... but mostly nervous.

Did you have any concerns going into the semifinals?
Not really. I mean, I-I didn't have that many concerns because I'd played before, and I'd had fund, and whatever happened from here on in was just icing on the cake, and all the other contestants are so great.

Did you notice a change in intensity in this round?
To be honest, I don't think there was any change in intensity. I think everybody had--has come a really long way to be here, and everybody--all--everybody is so smart, and--yeah--and it's--all the other kids intimidate me in their own ways.

What's been the best part of this experience?
The best part of this whole experience, aside from going to finals and getting to play Jeopardy! two more times is yesterday at the White House, I got to see Eleanor Roosevelt's portrait, and she's a big hero of mine, and that was a fantastic experience.

What is Alex Trebek like?
Alex Trebek is a lot like you see him on television, I think. He's really nice, and he's been really friendly to everyone.

What would being the champion mean to you?
I mean, it's been so great coming here, and honestly, if I win, that would be fantastic, but I think I'll be just as happy either way.

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You're the champ! How do you feel?
I feel so excited, and so amazing, and this doesn't even feel real, and I can't wait to see my family, and I--I don't even know what they're going to say.

What'd you think of that Final Jeopardy! clue?
I panicked--because at first I--at first I thought it was asking when Iowa was a state, and I had no idea who was president then, and then I thought, "Wait... future state of Iowa!" And then I just--I wasn't sure. I guessed Jefferson because of the Louisiana Purchase, and it worked!

How did you determine your Final wager?
Well, I wanted to get more than the minimum of $75,000, and if I--if I lost, then I was still going to get a lot of money, and somebody fantastic would win, so I decided to take a big risk.

What's been the best part of this experience?
The best part of this experience, well, getting to say "I'll make that a True Daily Double" was pretty fun. Um, and visiting the White House, and meeting all the other contestants who are all absolutely amazing.

What advice do you have for aspiring contestants?
My advice for aspiring contestants is to watch the show, read a ton, and pay attention in history class, because that worked out pretty well for me. [Edit] Take the online test!

Congratulations, Elyse!

2012 Teen Tournament winner: $79,600.

16 at the time of the Teen Tournament.

Elyse set a new record for Teen Tournament winnings by beating the $75,000 minimum guarantee.

Elyse appeared in the following 4 archived games:
#6375, aired 2012-05-11 Elyse Mancuso vs. Catherine Briley vs. Rose Schaefer 2012 Teen Tournament final game 2. From DAR Constitution Hall...
#6374, aired 2012-05-10 Elyse Mancuso vs. Catherine Briley vs. Rose Schaefer 2012 Teen Tournament final game 1. From DAR Constitution Hall...
#6372, aired 2012-05-08 Elyse Mancuso vs. Anshika Niraj vs. Evan Eschliman 2012 Teen Tournament semifinal game 2. From DAR Constitution Hall...
#6368, aired 2012-05-02 Krishna Bharathala vs. Catherine Briley vs. Elyse Mancuso 2012 Teen Tournament quarterfinal game 3.

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