6th grader ties for 1st in ESPN bracket challenge

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How long does it take to fill out a winning NCAA bracket Sam Holtz, 12, took only five minutes to fill out his. (WLS)

How long does it take to fill out a winning NCAA bracket? Sam Holtz, a sixth grader from north suburban Lake Zurich, Illinois, took only five minutes to fill out his.

"I just rushed right through it. I think it was kind of all skill. Some people say it's luck, but I think I studied enough," Sam said.

Sam, 12, and a group of friends watched eagerly for the outcome of Monday night's Duke-Wisconsin game, knowing a Blue Devils' win would catapult him to a tie for first place among 11.57 million entries in ESPN.com's bracket challenge.

Sam filled out 10 brackets this year. His winning bracket was the fourth.


When Duke brought it home with a 68-63 win over the Badgers, pandemonium broke loose.

"I didn't even think I'd get in the top 100,000 when I first made a bracket. I just make 'em for fun. I didn't think I'd make it this far, so it's incredible," Sam said.

"I didn't even pay attention. I was teasing him today, telling him, 'Will you stop printing those brackets? You're wasting all my ink out of the printer.' He's like, 'Oh, yeah. I know what I'm doing. Leave me alone.' I guess he proved me wrong," said Butch Holtz, Sam's father.

Sam had some help from his brother and a friend. He'll need his dad to collect his prize if he wins. He'll be entered for a chance to win a $20,000 Best Buy gift certificate and a trip to the 2015 Maui Invitational.

The contest is for people age 18 and older. Sam said he entered with his dad's consent and his dad's email address. This is the third year Sam has filled out a bracket.

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