Sam watched the game at his home with family and friends and was tackled by his middle-school buddies when the game ended, giving both Sam and Duke a victory.
“I didn’t really pay attention to my bracket until the Final Four when I went on my phone and realized, ‘Woah, I’m in sixth place,” Sam told ABC News. “Then I zoned into those games and realized, ‘Hey, I have a chance here.’”
The Tournament Challenge, however, has a minimum age requirement of 18 years. Sam entered the Challenge using an email address that belongs to his dad, Butch Holtz, with his dad’s consent, he said.
“I was just talking to ESPN and they said that I’m underage and can’t get any of the prize and they’re going to send some goodies even though I entered under my dad’s consent, which I’m pretty irritated about,” Sam told ABC News.
“For ESPN, I came in first and this was a rare thing that you can rarely get and I still don’t get anything and I think I deserve something out of it,” Sam said. “Even if I just get an Xbox or something.”
ESPN will choose the grand prize winner in a randomly selected drawing among the top 1 percent of “eligible point scorers” in the contest, according to ESPN.com. The winner is set to be announced Thursday.
An ESPN spokesman confirmed the process of picking a winner to ABC News but did not confirm how the network plans to handle the prize should Sam’s username be chosen in the drawing.
In the meantime, Sam said his family -- which also includes his mom, Elizabeth, and an older brother, Joey -- is “really excited” for him and “surprised” that he came out atop the leaderboard.
“Just pick the team that you like and pick whoever you want,” he said. “You never know what’s going to happen in March Madness so just pick teams that you really like.”
Sam also has a message for the Duke University Blue Devils who helped him win a championship too.
“I’d say congratulations to them for winning the championship and to Coach K for doing a great job coaching this season,” he said.
The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of both ESPN and ABC News.