Forest Hills resident competes on ‘Jeopardy!’
Dan Wohl defeats four-day champion
By Jessica Meditz
Dan Wohl represented Forest Hills with pride last Wednesday on “Jeopardy!”
Wohl, a 36-year-old Forest Hills resident and social studies teacher at Syosset High School on Long Island, threw his hat into the ring against some talented players, including Matthew Marcus, a four-day, $114,000-plus winner.
Although Marcus was looking good in terms of gameplay, Wohl gave him a run for his money – winning his first game and walking away with $26,799.
Wohl scored big by taking a risk during Double Jeopardy, making it a true Daily Double when he had $10,000.
He answered correctly, doubling his score and putting him ahead of Marcus by $7,000.
Wohl said that before that moment, he knew that if he landed on a Daily Double, he would wager all his money unless he was very uneasy about the category.
“That was the most exciting part and the thing I’m proudest of, that I’m sure I will love recounting for the rest of my life,” he said. “When I did the true Daily Double, the audible gasps that it elicited from the audience will definitely be one of my most cherished memories forever.”
Wohl said that going into Final Jeopardy was smooth sailing for him, since he knew it would be impossible for his opponents to catch him.
He doubted himself in the final category, “European Cities,” as shown through the three question marks he wrote in his response. However, he got it right anyway.
“I felt really cool and badass,” he said.
Wohl kept his momentum going into Thursday’s game with a strong performance in the first two rounds, but was met with stiff competition in the form of Mira Hayward, a writer from Portland, Oregon.
He came up short in Final Jeopardy within the category of “Theater History.”
Even though his run was short-lived, Wohl is proud of his achievements and earnings on “Jeopardy!”
It’s not his first experience being on a game show, as he’s appeared on “Cash Cow” and “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” in the past.
This, plus his teaching experience left him feeling prepared for his “Jeopardy!” run.
“There was an advantage in terms of staying calm and poised (or at least trying to), because that’s a part of teaching and one of the elements I really enjoy,” Wohl said. “That sort of performance aspect of both teaching and Jeopardy! is related.”
As he returned to his life in Forest Hills, teaching history and living with his wife, Marisa, he reflected on his positive experience on the show – meeting host Ken Jennings and all the quick-witted contestants.
“My parents were asking me afterward, ‘What do you want to do next?’ and I told them, ‘I don’t think there is any next. Nothing really beats this,’” he said. “‘Jeopardy!’ is so comforting and it feels good because it’s this tightly edited, 22-minute microcosm of a world that I wish we all lived in, where the important thing is knowledge, intelligence and curiosity.”
No matter what, he’s thrilled to be able to call himself a “Jeopardy!” champion and represent his community.