Jim Coury with Alex Trebek. (Jeopardy Productions, Inc.) Jim Coury with Alex Trebek. (Jeopardy Productions, Inc.)

He had to keep it under wraps for six weeks, but on Friday Jim Coury finally revealed his big news: The Georgetown sophomore won the “Jeopardy!” annual college tournament, taking home the $100,000 grand prize. “It was extremely difficult to keep the secret,” he told us.

The international political economy major, 20, taped the shows in early April but couldn’t share the outcome until the final installment aired Friday night. (His parents, who were at the taping in California, leaked the news to a few close friends in his hometown of Olmsted Falls, Ohio.) In the crucial final game, Coury was the only one of the three finalists to correctly answer Final Jeopardy: “The last of 11 southern states to secede from the Union, it borders six of them.” (Answer at the end of this post.)

Coury has been a fan of the show since he was a kid. He took the online test last year, auditioned in October, and was selected for the field of 15 college students in February — and had a blast the whole time. Even got the hang of that darned buzzer, which has plagued so many contestants. “The whole thing was really fun,” he said in his post-win interview. His advice: “Don’t even take it too seriously. Just have a great time and it will all be good.”

Now he’s got bragging rights, an automatic berth in the upcoming Tournament of Champions, and a shot at even more prize money. As for the $100K? “It’s mainly going to tuition,” he told us.

The Final Jeopardy question: “What is Tennessee?” (For you Civil War sticklers: North Carolina’s legislature approved secession on May 20, 1861. Tennessee submitted it to voters for approval earlier but was the last state to make it official on June 8, 1861.)

Earlier: Smithsonian accepts Susan Lucci gown, ‘Jeopardy’ and ‘Barney’ artifacts in celebration of daytime TV, 5/9/13
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