“I was about 6 when I started watching “Jeopardy!,” and I was a huge fan from then on,” said Hanley in an Orlando Sentinel interview. “Every night we would watch 'Jeopardy!' I don’t watch TV much anymore, with the exception of the next-day reruns of (the show).”
Hanley finished second on "Jeopardy!" during the episode that aired Wednesday, February 15, 2017. Although her supporters were initially disappointed, she still qualified to advance to the second round thanks to a wild card spot. The second round episode aired on February 22, and a crowd of some 70 students and faculty gathered at a viewing party at the Hollis Center on Stetson’s DeLand campus.
Going into the Final Jeopardy round, Hanley had $15,000, as did her opponent Netanel Paley of Yeshiva University in New York City. Gary Tse, a freshman at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., led with $22,995.
The Final Jeopardy category was “Presidential Campaign Years” and the answer was: “Year the New York World lamented ‘The age of statesmen is gone, the age of rail-splitters and tailors has succeeded.’ ”
All three competitors missed the correct question of “What is 1864?” Hanley’s $10,000 wager thus left her with $5,000, placing her second. Tse’s $7,006 wager left him with $15,989, and so he advanced to the college tournament finals.
Although she did not advance to the final round of the tournament, Mari made her fellow students, professors and the town of DeLand proud. Her enthusiasm on the screen echoed who she is everyday life. Although Mari came up short on "Jeopardy!," her professors and peers believe she will go far in life.