LSA senior Pete Troyan, one of 15 contestants who made it to the “Jeopardy!” College 2007 Championship, was not fooled when asked what he would do with his cash prize.
“I can’t comment on that!” Troyan said.
He had promised not to reveal the result of the two-week tournament that started airing April 30. He wouldn’t say anything that suggested how much money he won and how he placed in the competition.
Troyan underwent an intensive selection process to become a contestant in the tournament. After he passed a test on the “Jeopardy!” website, the show’s organizers invited him to Chicago so they could observe him in a mock game and interview him to gauge his personality.
In March, they told Troyan he had been selected as a contestant and paid for him to fly to California for the taping of the tournament at the University of Southern California.
In addition to his airfare, the show also paid for Troyan’s room at a Hilton Hotel and gave him $600 in spending money.
“I took my parents out to dinner for the first time in my life,” he said.
Troyan said his mother inspired him to try out for “Jeopardy!” – she instilled in him a love for trivia games when he was eight years old.
As she watched the filming of the tournament, Troyan’s mother often turned her head away from the game out of nervousness, Troyan said.
Troyan studies physics and mathematics at the University, but he said “Jeopardy!” emphasizes subjects outside his concentration like history and literature.
“Physics and math are useless for ‘Jeopardy!’,” he said.
Troyan said history was his specialty when he competed in trivia face-offs for his high school’s quiz bowl team.
An avid fan of trivia game shows, Troyan said he often follows along with contestants on shows like “Jeopardy!,” “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” and “Cash Cab.”
Troyan said he had a strategy for preparing for the tournament. “Before the show I tried to get into the writers’ minds,” he said, “I go through things that they might ask.”
He predicted that they would ask about the Trojan War because the show was filmed at the University of Southern California, home of the Trojans.
Troyan said participating in the tournament was stressful because it took place during finals week, but he valued the chance to represent the University. He said he had most looked forward to competing against Notre Dame.