Teen ties for first place in ESPN tournament challenge, beating millions of brackets

Apr 8, 2023, 9:33 AM | Updated: 10:10 am

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WEST JORDAN, Utah — March Madness may be over, but a Utah family is still on cloud nine after their nephew won the ESPN Tournament Challenge.

Armour Johnson had tied for first place in the tournament out of over 20 million brackets. (KSL TV)

Armour Johnson, 16, lives in Washington state but was in town visiting family when he learned he had tied for first place in the tournament out of over 20 million brackets.

“I was just surprised because it feels like one of those things that never could happen,” he said.

Johnson, a varsity basketball player for his local high school, entered 25 brackets, initially aiming for precision but later making more intuitive choices.

“I was trying to get them down to the T but then I just kind of started letting loose more on my last 15, and just doing what I thought was right in the moment, I guess,” he said.

He kept a close eye on the competition and even attended the UConn vs. Gonzaga game in Las Vegas. As the games progressed, he realized that one of his brackets was performing exceptionally well. 

“The Elite Eight is where it really started to pick up because I picked seven out of the eight Elite Eight teams. And the only one that I didn’t get right was Purdue because they had an upset in the first round,” he said.

On Monday night, he gathered with family in Utah to watch the championship game. By that point, Johnson was in 4th place in the tournament.

“I was feeling pretty confident that I could win it all,” he said.

After UConn beat SDSU, his lucky bracket tied for first place, earning 1,600 points. Johnson said this unforgettable experience taught him a life long lesson.

“Try everything, you know you never know what is going to go your way,” he said.

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Teen ties for first place in ESPN tournament challenge, beating millions of brackets