Justin Vossler

Justin Vossler, right, poses for a photo with "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek.

Provided

A technicality cost Justin Vossler a berth in the "Jeopardy!" tournament of champions semifinals. 

Vossler, a Homer resident and Moravia High School history teacher, competed in the final quarterfinal that aired Friday. He trailed fellow contestant Andrew Pau by $10,800 entering Final Jeopardy, but with $16,000 he was in a good position to clinch at least a wild card spot and advance in the tournament. 

The Final Jeopardy category was "Awards & Honors." The answer: "The Victoria Cross is for military bravery; this cross first given in 1940 and named for Victoria's great-grandson is for civilian bravery." 

Vossler, who wagered $7,000, responded with, "What is the George's Cross?" But that was incorrect. The name of the award is the George Cross, not the George's Cross. 

The technicality proved costly for Vossler. He finished with $9,000 and narrowly missed one of the four wild card spots in the semifinals. 

Vossler was invited to play in the tournament of champions after his successful run on the game-show earlier this year. He won five games and $112,000 during his streak, which was filmed in the spring and televised in July. 

Not long after his episodes aired, "Jeopardy!" officials notified him that he was eligible for the tournament of champions. He returned to California in September to film the episode that aired Friday.

Online producer Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.

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