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Jeopardy! champ Matt Amodio appeared on this game show as a teen. What is Academic Challenge?

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Posted at 3:15 PM, Aug 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-13 16:53:36-04

CLEVELAND — Medina native Matt Amodio has become the third all-time highest Jeopardy! winner with $547,600 in earnings. His journey to dominating the game show over the last couple of weeks had humble beginnings right here in Northeast Ohio on Academic Challenge.

The Ohio State graduate and current fifth-year Ph.D. student in Yale’s computer science program was a trivia star as a teen, appearing on News 5's Academic Challenge in 2009 with classmates from Medina High School.

In that episode, Amodio was asked what instrument he played, to which he answered, "It's my brand new Fender Squier, and I love it to pieces."

It was clear back then that Amodio had a niche for history questions.

Jeopardy champ Matt Amodio appeared on Academic Challenge in 2009

While he and his classmates started off strong, Medina High School came in second place, with St. Ignatius High School taking home the victory with 680 points.

Even though Amodio didn't come out as a champ on Academic Challenge, he has made up for it with his historic Jeopardy! victories.

His current cash total puts him at No. 3 on the list of top winners for regular-season play, edging ahead of Jason Zuffranieri ($532,496) and on the trail of “Jeopardy!” luminaries Ken Jennings ($2.52 million) and James Holzhauer ($2.46 million).

If Amodio’s streak holds through the season’s end on Friday, he will return on Sept. 13 for the show’s 38th season.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

RELATED: Medina native Matt Amodio loses $37,000 but still wins his 11th Jeopardy! game

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