'Jeopardy!' winner Emma Boettcher was a spectacular student, teachers say

TREDYFFRIN TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WPVI) -- After rumors swirled throughout the day on Monday that it might happen, came the moment of truth.

Paoli, Chester County native Emma Boettcher became the new Jeopardy! champion, ending James Holzhauer's impressive 32-game winning streak.

On Tuesday Action News sat down with two of Emma's former teachers at Conestoga High School.

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Chester County native Emma Boettcher defeats 'Jeopardy' star James Holzhauer as reported by Annie McCormick during Action News at 11 on June 3, 2019.

"I was very proud having coached her in an academic competition, which is a lot like Jeopardy! To see her on the stage was really amazing," said Mike Cruz, Emma's former academic team teacher.

"I just remember her as a spectacular student, a real intellect. Somebody that just loved learning," said Emma's junior year British literature teacher Bridget McGuinn.

McGuinn said there was no way Emma could have missed the Final Jeopardy! clue "Shakespeare's Time."

"That was her internship, she studied Shakespeare on her own," McGuinn said.

Cruz remembered a student who knew how to have fun, but also had a competitive edge.

"She has a sense of humor, she's very funny but at the same time when it came to game time, very focused laser-like," Cruz said.

Boettcher, 27, won the game with $46,801.

Holzhauer finished in second place with $24,799.

"Emma dominated her warmup games that day, and I knew she would make an extremely tough challenger," said Holzhauer. "I was still incredibly impressed by her courage on that 'True Daily Double.' I'm proud that it took a top-level player at her absolute best to eliminate me."

Holzhauer was vying to beat the record set by Ken Jennings.

Holzhauer had won $2,462,216 through Friday's episode, leaving him a little more than $58,000 shy of Jennings' 2004 record.

"I never really believed I could win 75 shows, but I definitely thought I had a great shot at Ken's cash winnings record," said Holzhauer, who finished just $58,484 shy of Jennings' total.

As of late Tuesday, Boettcher had not been made available for interviews but said in a video post-victory, "To say that I've won a game of Jeopardy! no matter who against is just incredible."
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