Meet the winner of our historic March Madness Bracket Challenge – JWS

Emily Syverud started following women’s college basketball just this year. Coverage of Just Women’s Sports piqued her interest, and before long she was invested in the storylines of the season.

So when JWS announced a bracket challenge in partnership with DICK’S Sporting GoodsSyverud decided to get in on the action.

“I thought it would be fun to create a bracket based on some knowledge, instead of just picking teams based on what name I prefer – that’s how I chose my male bracket,” said Syverud.

We can say that it went well.

Syverud, a medical student at the University of Minnesota, won the $150,000 grand prize, the largest ever awarded to women’s college basketball.

“I mainly picked the match winners based on what I had read during the regular season on Just Women’s Sports,” Syverud said. “I knew some powerhouses, like South Carolina and Stanford, would go far and I also felt like I had insider knowledge about teams that could create their own Cinderella story. I also had to research some of my favorites, like the University of Iowa, where my dad went to college.

Syverud, who is originally from Saint Paul but now lives in Minneapolis, begins his residency in June in emergency and internal medicine. She plans to use the prize money to pay off some of her student loans, and she also plans to donate to nonprofits in the Twin Cities, including Keystone Community Servicesthat connects people in need with food, shelter and more.

As a treat, she will also upgrade her and her fiancé’s flights to first class for their honeymoon.

Of course, she’s already looking forward to filling her slot again next year.

“It was so much fun,” she said, adding that she looks forward to continuing to watch South Carolina as the team looks to mount a title defense. “I can’t wait to follow the team again next year and see how you keep things moving!”

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