Sophomore competes in Jeopardy! championship

Jamie Alayon, Jeopardy
Sophomore Jaime Alayon watches television in his dorm room. He will appear on the game show program Jeopardy! this evening. Delaney Walsh | Hatchet Photographer

Correction appended

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Shana Cothran.

It all started with a commercial.

When sophomore Jaime Alayon saw a commercial for the Jeopardy! College Championship, the economics major knew he had to give it a shot.

Alayon, along with an estimated 12,000 other college students from all over the country, took the online test and submitted his application. Five months later, Alayon and 300 other students were called back for a live audition in D.C.

Alayon wasn’t sure he would even make it past the first round.

“There were many people from different universities. Many of them looked like qualified Ivy League kids,” Alayon said.

Growing up in Miami, Alayon and his father always watched the Jeopardy! game show together.

Alayon feels his childhood pastime and natural knack for learning facts gave him the upper hand, although traditional studious preparation was not the secret to his success.

“There is no real way to prepare for the game show. If you study one topic and then it is not on the show, you will have wasted your time,” he said.

Instead of memorization and endless hours of studying, Alayon played Sporcle – a website with thousands of free quizzes – in his spare time to prepare.

After the live audition in D.C., Alayon and fourteen other students were called back for one more round, this time at Sony Pictures Studios in Los Angeles.

“I didn’t know how to take the news at first,” Alayon said. “When I got there everyone had the same skills. It all comes down to who can press the buzzer the quickest.”

The collegiate episode will air on Feb. 2.

This post was updated on Feb. 3, 2012 to reflect the following:
The Hatchet incorrectly spelled Jaime Alayon’s first name as “Jamie” in the caption. It is spelled “Jaime.” The Hatchet incorrectly reported the episode of Jeopardy! featuring Jaime Alayon was taped in August of 2011. The episodes were taped on Jan. 5 and 4, 2012.

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