UT student advances to ‘Jeopardy!’ National College Championship semifinals

Morgan Severson , News Reporter

After auditioning for “Jeopardy!” at roughly 14 years old, Jaskaran Singh represented UT in the “Jeopardy!” National College Championship on Friday and won $19,900 in the quarterfinal round. Singh then moved on to game four of the semifinals, which will air Feb. 18.

Singh, a finance and economics senior, competed on episode four of the nine-part “Jeopardy!” series after completing the “Jeopardy!” Anytime Test online and participating in a Zoom audition. Singh won his bracket’s quarterfinal round against students from Brown University and the University of Southern California. 

Singh said he did not study much for the show other than practicing his reaction time.

“I watched previous episodes and read about how the buzzing works, how competing works (and) the process of the game,” Singh said. “I would watch it, and I would sit there with a pen and press it at the end of a question to get my reaction time.”  

Alison Shapiro, the director of communications for “Jeopardy!”, said in an email that the show randomly selected from those who passed the online test to participate in a Zoom audition, leading to the 36 contestants they had on the show.

“It was exciting to have a brilliant group of students with us in the studio, and they brought a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the show,” Shapiro said.

A game of “Jeopardy!” consists of three rounds. Singh missed three out of the 18 questions he buzzed in for in the first round but answered all of his 11 questions correctly during the second round, where he earned $13,600. Singh then answered the final “Jeopardy!” question, “This country, the largest in area entirely within Europe, borders the largest country in the world,” correctly with, “What is Ukraine?”

“My family was freaking out,” Singh said. “My mom and dad were really happy for me, and my friends were happy for me, too.”

Singh has since competed in the semifinal but said he could not tell The Daily Texan the results of the competition since the shows are recorded in advance.  

Alison Purcell, biology and Plan II junior, competed in the “Jeopardy!” Teen Tournament in high school and said she was excited to see her college represented on the show. 

“‘Jeopardy!’ usually has a much older audience,” Purcell said. “The Teen Tournament and the College Championship bring ‘Jeopardy!’ … to a much younger audience, and (also) show its much older audience that the future is looking pretty bright.”