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Wofford grad climbs up list of all-time Jeopardy! winners
By Drew Brooks
Published: Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Wofford College graduate Ben Ingram continues to rewrite the Jeopardy! record books.
Ingram, a 30-year-old Charlotte IT consultant who now lives in Lake Wylie, raised his winnings to $176,534 on Wednesday night's episode after claiming his eighth consecutive victory.
According to Jeopardy!, Ingram is now in elite company.
Only seven other players have won eight games in Jeopardy! history, according to the show. Only four contestants have exceeded that number, including all-time winner Ken Jennings.
Ingram, part of Wofford's 2005 College Bowl team that traveled to the national championship tournament in Seattle, is a native of Florence. He has a bachelor of science in mathematics from Wofford and a master's of science in mathematics from the University of South Carolina.
On Wednesday's show, Ingram collected $18,801 with a strategy that served him well during his run — search for Daily Doubles and focus on high-value clues.
Before the match began, host Alex Trebek asked "Who can beat Ben?"
The answer, at least for Wednesday, was "no one."
Ingram never trailed and won after answering the Final Jeopardy! with the question "Who is Dr. Seuss?"
The clue was "He quit pursuing a Ph.D in 1926 to pursue drawing, but you might say he gave himself the degree anyway."
Following his earlier strategies, Ingram wagered just enough to make sure no contestant could top him, winning by $2.
Ingram's run has become must-see television for Wofford faculty and students, many of whom have taken to social media to cheer Ingram on.
His former College Bowl coaches at Wofford describe Ingram as a gentleman and classy competitor and said his Jeopardy! run brought back memories of earlier dominance in the collegiate competition.
"I've watched all but the first one," said Mark Byrnes, an associate professor of history at Wofford. "I'm not terribly surprised."
Byrnes said a July 4th party at his home that included other Wofford faculty was put on hold for Ingram's appearance on that day's show.
"It's been a lot of fun to watch," he said.
Ingram, however, has been among those surprised by his run.
He told Jeopardy! officials that his winnings have been hard to believe, particularly when they are announced before each show.
"I thought, ‘Wow, is he sure he's reading the right number?'" said Ingram. "It didn't sink in that this was real American money for a few days, and part of me still doesn't believe it."
"I've enjoyed watching the great champions compete throughout the years, and I can't imagine my name being listed beside theirs," Ingram said. "I had no idea I would do so well, because I knew I was up against some very talented and competitive players every day."
The Jeopardy! episodes were taped in March, Ingram has previously said. But he has been sworn to secrecy on the outcomes.
With his latest win, Ingram climbed into 9th place on the show's all-time money list, but remains far behind Jennings, who collected more than $2.5 million during his run on the show.
Ingram's run continues on WLOS-TV on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
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