It all came down to a tiebreaker.
Northeastern University student Liz Feltner moved onto the final of the “Jeopardy! National College Championship” last Tuesday after winning a two-contestant tiebreaker during the semifinals, which aired Friday on ABC.
“It’s pretty surreal, honestly. I’ve been kind of overwhelmed by how supportive people have been,” Feltner, a fifth-year senior, said in a telephone interview Saturday.
“I was excited about it — I’ve been a ‘Jeopardy!’ fan for forever,” she said. “Even making it past the quarterfinals and now even to the finals, I’m just so surprised and so happy to see how many people are being supportive,” she said.
Heading into the Final Jeopardy! round, Feltner was tied with Carnegie Mellon University student Kristin Donegan, both winning $11,000 each. Emmey Harris from the University of Minnesota trailed not far behind, with $10,800.
Then came the Final Jeopardy! category: Historic Structures.
The clue: “In 1100 the Bishop of Durham became the first prisoner here &, after plying his guards with wine, became the first to escape.”
All three correctly answered, “What is the Tower of London?” Each bet all of their winnings, doubling their amounts. And Feltner and Donegan were tied yet again with $22,000.
“We have a tie for first place!” Bialik said.
The host explained the winner would be determined by a tiebreaker. “The first one of you to ring in and respond correctly” will advance, Bialik said.
The category was The Fine Arts.
The clue: “A 1920s trip to France inspired him to compose ‘An American in Paris.’ ”
Buzzing in fast enough to answer “Who is Gershwin?,” Feltner was declared the game winner.
i like this one better and i have the luxury of choice SO #NewProfilePic pic.twitter.com/3bBKk1D9nK— Liz Feltner (@LizFeltner1) February 18, 2022
“As soon as it came up, my hands flew to my face. That was me realizing, ‘Oh, crap, I know this, there’s a chance I win this,’ ” Feltner said. “It was insane.”
The “Jeopardy! National College Championship” final is scheduled to air Tuesday at 8 p.m. on ABC. (WCBV-TV in Boston is the local affiliate.)
She’ll go head-to-head against Jaskaran Singh from the University of Texas and Raymond Goslow from Kennesaw State University. Each will vie for the $250,000 grand prize and the title of champion.
The three were among 36 students from 36 colleges who competed in the special two-week tournament.
Students from other New England colleges who competed in the tournament were Max Niles from Brown University, Gus Guszkowski from Dartmouth College, Aniket Dehadrai from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Joey Kornman from Brandeis University, Sebastian Torres from Yale University, and Neha Seshadri from Harvard University. Kornman and Seshadri made it to the semifinals.
Feltner’s “Jeopardy!” journey began in the fall of 2020, when she first tested for the popular game show. After she was selected, she used a ballpoint pen to practice hitting the buzzer. She used flashcards and online quizzes to test herself. Over Thanksgiving weekend, she flew to California to tape the show.
Feltner said it’s been a “crazy few weeks” since the tournament started airing on Feb. 8. Her family, friends, and fans were eager to see how things all played out. She’s now ready for the final buzzer.
“I’m honestly just excited to share it with everyone and to get some conclusion on all of this,” she said.
Breanne Kovatch can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @breannekovatch.