2016 | Schools

College Student from Bethesda Wins Jeopardy!

Sam Deutsch made it through the quarterfinals of the College Championship Wednesday night

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Sam Deutsch with Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek

via Jeopardy! and Facebook

Sam Deutsch, a Richard Montgomery High School graduate and current student at the University of Southern California, can add a new line to his resume—Jeopardy! champion.

Deutsch, a junior at USC, beat out two other contestants on the TV game show in the quarterfinals of the 2016 College Championship in an episode that aired Wednesday night.

Deutsch answered the Final Jeopardy question listed below correctly to beat out a Mississippi State University student by a calculated $1. Deutsch won with a total of $14,401 and now moves on to the semi-finals of the championship, which air next week.

Deutsch, who is currently studying abroad in the Netherlands, said in a Facebook chat he’ll appear again on the show in an episode that will air Tuesday night.

This is actually Deutsch’s second Jeopardy! experience. A couple years ago he served as an alternate for the Teen Tournament—in case one of the other contestants couldn’t make it or fell ill—but didn’t get a chance to appear on the show.

He said he grew up watching the show and was first convinced to audition for it by one of his friends from high school, Raynell Cooper, who won the teen tournament in 2011.

“The show is taped the first week of January and it was really a surreal experience—the studio is even more impressive in person,” Deutsch said. “The show is taped so quickly though, it felt like they went by in an instant.”

Deutsch said he prepared by reading a book by Ken Jennings, who holds the record for the longest winning streak on Jeopardy!, and by watching old episodes while using a pen as a simulated buzzer.

As for Tuesday’s episode, which has already been recorded, Deutsch said, “I can’t give away who won, but I can say it was another close one!”

And in case one Bethesda contestant is not enough, Noah Cowan, a Brown University student from Bethesda and a graduate of Georgetown Day School, will appear Friday night in a quarterfinals episode of the college championship.

The winner of the college championship receives $100,000.