Senior finishes in close second on Wednesday show
By ANDREW THAGARD
Andrew Nerlinger "asked" his way to second place in Wednesday's college addition of JEOPARDY! The Notre Dame senior competed against Jaime Green, a Brown University freshman, and Vinita Kailasanath, a Stanford University junior, on a college version of the popular game show.
"I thought I would be really nervous but it was impossible to be," Nerlinger said after the show aired. "It was just so surreal."
Nerlinger and Kailasanath competed closely throughout the first round and double JEOPARDY! while Green trailed the two for most of the game.
First round categories included "The Lone Star State," "Movie Taglines," "Instant Messenger," "Numb with Numbers," "Ranks and Titles" and "When in ..." Nerlinger demonstrated the most success in the "Instant Messenger" and "When in ..." categories. He betted and lost $600 in the first "Daily Double" of the game, failing to correctly identify a line from the movie "Dude Where's my Car."
"There were probably three or four questions in the game I didn't know," Nerlinger said. "Everyone told me the trick would be the buzzer."
According to Nerlinger, contestants only have a narrow window to "buzz in." If a player presses the buzzer before Trebek finishes reading the question, they are "locked out" for a fraction of a second giving the other contestants an opportunity to answer it.
In Double JEOPARDY! Nerlinger correctly answered both "Daily Doubles" to earn an additional $1600.
"I got all three Daily Doubles but I wasn't confidant enough to bet a lot," he said.
At the end of Double JEOPARDY!, Kailasanath lead the group with $7700, Nerlinger won $6000 and Green earned $1800.
The final JEOPARDY! round featured a question from the category "Legendary Characters." The answer read by Trebek, was "Led by Nicholas, a German boy, the Children's Crusade of 1212 may have been the inspiration for this character."
Kailasanath correctly answered "the Pied Piper" to retain her lead while Nerlinger incorrectly guessed "Peter Pan," but did not bet enough money to lose his second place position.
"I was trying to decide between the two [the Pied Piper and Peter Pan] but chose Peter Pan based on the word `boy,'" Nerlinger said. "JEOPARDY! really comes down to whether or not you get the final question. I thought it was a little too factless. It just seemed way out there."
Of the three, Kailasanath is guaranteed to move on to the semi-finals next week. Nerlinger could also make the next round of competition depending on the success of the remaining four groups of contestants.
"That's the way it goes," Nerlinger said of his performance in the game. "I had a great time. I was pretty happy with how I did. I gave her [Kailasanath] a run."
This year's JEOPARDY! College Championship edition was taped at the Pauley Pavilion on UCLA's campus. Nerlinger flew to California and stayed in the Beverly Hills Hilton on an all-expenses-paid trip for the show's Oct. 6-7 taping.
Between tapings, Nerlinger enjoyed spending time with the other contestants.
"All the players were really nice," he said. "On Saturday and Sunday nights we would hang out. We had a really good time."
Nerlinger also had an opportunity to talk with JEOPARDY! Host Alex Trebek both on and off camera. In yesterday's episode, Trebek asked Nerlinger about the fund he established to send disadvantaged people to Notre Dame football games.
According to Nerlinger, however, the rest of their conversation was cut out in the editing process. Nerlinger addressed the game show host as "Mr. Trebek," which the host attributed to the student's Jesuit education.
"I said to him, `Actually Mr. Trebek, it's [Notre Dame] a Holy Cross school," he said.
The correction was not present in the final edition.
Nerlinger, a long-time fan of the show, competed in an intensive selection process against 2000 college students from across the country for his slot.
The Notre Dame senior is working on a math and philosophy double major and plans to attend medical school. Nerlinger watched last night's show with a group of students at LaFortune.
Contact Andrew Thagard at
All News Stories for Thursday, November 8, 2001