Santa Clara University

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Freshman Gets Himself in "Jeopardy!"

james_hillCommunications major James Hill III found a unique way to get his name known by the entire student body while still a freshman: represent SCU in the “Jeopardy! College Championship.”

“It’s been pretty crazy, the number of people who have been recognizing me on campus,” the 17-year-old competitor said.

Hill was the first Bronco in 12 years to appear on the show and only the second SCU student in history to compete in the college tournament. His formal entry onto the quiz show was through an online test he took last August, but he said “in some ways I’ve been preparing for this my whole life.” The trivia whiz has competed in Quiz Bowl, an academic trivia competition, since elementary school and started Bellarmine’s team as a high school freshman.

He won his semi-final “Jeopardy!” match (and pocketed $10,000) against contestants from University of Pennsylvania and Brown University with his correct response about a high altitude Summer Olympic venue. “Probably the only reason I remembered Mexico City was because of the Tommie Smith and John Carlos protest,” said Hill, who was at the 2005 unveiling at San Jose State University of the statue commemorating the track medalists’ Black Power salute at the 1968 Olympics.

Although leading at the end of his quarter-final game, Hill lost with an incorrect response about Owain Glyndwr’s claim to fame (last native Prince of Wales).

“That’s a piece of information I won’t forget soon,” he laughed.

For more about the match-up between the college contestants, visit www.jeopardy.com/minisites/collegechamps-s26/.