Northeastern University student Liz Feltner placed third in the final contest of the “Jeopardy! National College Championship,” broadcast Tuesday night, but she went out with a smile and with the support of many classmates, friends, and family.
Feltner, a senior majoring in political science and business administration, missed out on the ABC network show’s $250,000 prize but won $50,000 for making it to the final two games, which were prerecorded and broadcast back-to-back on Tuesday night.
On the Northeastern campus, Feltner’s classmates gathered at the Curry Student Center to watch the games and cheer her on. In an interview at the watch party, Feltner said she had been “astonished by the outpouring of support that I’ve gotten from everybody at Northeastern, all my friends, my family back home.”
“People I’ve never even met have been rooting for me, they’re like, ‘Oh, shout out from a Husky alumni, class of whatever’ on Twitter. So many people have been so kind,” the Baton Rouge native said.
Back home in Louisiana, she said, her parents were part of another watch party, she said.
“They knew every step of the audition process, like how it was going, everything,” Feltner said. “They were like, ‘Are you studying?’ … They’re my biggest fans and I literally talked to both of them today and they were like, ‘We’re just so proud of you. Doesn’t matter how you do today. Like we were just proud of you for making it to the tournament.’ "
Natalie Reeder, a graduate student in international affairs and climate policy and a good friend to Feltner, was also at the watch party and said it had been “super fun” to watch her on the popular quiz show.
“I’ve screamed every time she shows up on the screen. So it’s been really fun to support her and cheer for her,” Reeder said, admitting she is not really a “Jeopardy!” watcher, “just a big Liz Feltner fan”
In the first game Tuesday night, Jaskaran Singh, a senior from the University of Texas at Austin, dominated early play, but Feltner picked up some steam during Double Jeopardy, recognizing song lyrics from Dua Lipa and the Black Eyed Peas, and correctly answering “turquoise” in a category about the color blue, though she got another question wrong when she answered “cerulean” instead of “cobalt.”
In Final Jeopardy, Feltner bid $4,000 on a question about the periodic table of elements but gave the wrong answer, leaving her with $5,800 for the game, and in third place. She laughed with host Mayim Bialik and the other contestants afterward, saying she knew her answer “seemed too easy when I wrote it,” and acknowledging that she hadn’t had a science class in six years.
As they moved into the second game of the finals, Feltner told Bialik she was hoping to come from behind by capturing some of the daily double questions. “It’s not over ‘til it’s over,” she said.
She correctly answered the first question of the round, which was about “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” and the last, which was about what the president’s family is called. But Singh remained fastest on the buzzer and nabbed the first daily double, and Feltner again found herself in third place at the end of the round, behind Singh and Raymond Goslow from Kennesaw State University.
In the next round, after Singh incorrectly answered a daily double question, Goslow went on a run that drove his winnings above $15,000, while Feltner was largely shut out for several minutes, landing in a distant third place by the round’s end.
In Final Jeopardy, Goslow and Singh both correctly answered a question about the Gilded Age of the late 19th century, securing Singh’s win. Feltner answered incorrectly, leaving her with a total of $7,400 for both games, but as the third-place winner she still went home with $50,000.
The three were among 36 students from 36 colleges who competed in the two-week tournament.
Students from other New England colleges who competed 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.
Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox. Madison Mercado can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.