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Middlebury College student advances to "Jeopardy" finals

November 19, 2003

MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-Keith Williams, 18, a first-year student at Middlebury College and a resident of Manchester Center, Vt., won his second or semifinal round of the "Jeopardy" college tournament Nov. 18 when he appeared as a contestant on the national television game show. He will now advance to the finals of the tournament, appearing on the show Nov. 20-21.  The show's annual college tournament began Nov. 10 and ends Nov. 21.  The shows were taped in New Haven, Conn., in early October.  In the Burlington, Vt., area, "Jeopardy" airs on WPTZ-TV (NBC) at 7 p.m. on weeknights.   

"I've been watching the show since I was three and I've always wanted to be a contestant," said Williams.

According to the show's Web site at, this year's college champion is guaranteed a minimum $50,000 cash prize, a $50,000 scholarship to the winner's school, a specially designed trophy, and a brand new Volvo S60R.  In the first week, each player appeared in one of five shows. The winners of each of these shows, along with the next four highest money earners, went on to the semifinals. Now in the second week, the nine semifinalists are competing in three shows for a place in the two-game final match. The second place contestant is guaranteed a minimum of $25,000 and third place pockets a minimum of $15,000. Semifinalists receive $5,000 and players eliminated in the first week receive $2,500.

Contestants are restricted from discussing the outcome of a show prior to its air date.

The Web site also features contestant photos and interviews, and a virtual tour of the "Jeopardy" College Championship set on the Yale University campus.  The photo gallery includes several photos of Middlebury students in the audience displaying school spirit.

Williams became a contestant by signing up online.  He then took a test in New York City, and played a mock game against other contestants who had also passed the test.  According to Williams, producers selected the finalists for the shows at test sites in New York, Indianapolis, New Orleans and Los Angeles.  Williams said his favorite subjects are geography, math and science.    

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