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Liberty News

Former Quiz Bowl champion to appear on 'Jeopardy!'

September 16, 2014 : Liberty University News Service

Liberty University alumna Catherine Hardee with "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek. Hardee will appear as a contestant on the Sept. 23 episode of the game show.

Former Liberty University Quiz Bowl and Debate team member Catherine Hardee will be seen putting her knowledge to the test on the popular quiz show “Jeopardy!” Her episode airs Sept. 23 at 7:30 p.m. on CBS.

“Liberty actually helped me a lot with ‘Jeopardy!’ because it helped me to increase my base of knowledge and my immediate recall, which is what you have to have for the show,” Hardee said.

Hardee is a three-time Quiz Bowl Most Valuable Player (MVP) at Liberty, and during her senior year in 2012 she was ranked the best Quiz Bowl player from a five-state Mid-Atlantic region comprised of players from Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. In March, the Quiz Bowl team made its first national tournament appearance, finishing 20th out of 103 teams. Hardee ranked 14th in scoring out of 123 players on the top 30 teams.

She graduated in 2012 with a degree in history and completed her master’s in history in May.

“I know that without the confidence I have built and the experience I have gotten doing things under pressure during competitions I would not have been able to do well at ‘Jeopardy!’” Hardee said. “I know I will be successful at whatever I try because I have gotten an amazing education and start in life.”

Hardee has been a fan of the show for a long time and had auditioned four times in the past before being selected in June.

“There have been people who have auditioned for most of their lives and they finally get on when they are a lot older,” Hardee said. “For me to get chosen this soon when I’m so young is kind of cool.”

To be a contestant on “Jeopardy!,” individuals must pass a 50-question online test to qualify for an “in-person” audition. At the interview, those auditioning must complete another 50-question test as well as a personality interview. During the interview process, contestants are also given the chance to compete in a three-person “Jeopardy!” simulation game.

Hardee completed her online test in January 2014 and interviewed in Raleigh, N.C., in March. Hardee received a phone call in June telling her she was chosen to appear on the show.

A month later she visited California’s Sony Pictures Studios for a taping of the show. According to Hardee, entering the set and recording the show with host, Alex Trebek, was a dream come true.

“Seeing the set, watching the first taping, hearing the music start up, and seeing Alex Trebek walk out — it was amazing,” Hardee said.

The results of the show will not be made public until it airs Sept. 23. Contestants have a chance to win up to tens of thousands of dollars in prizes. If Hardee wins, she will retain her winnings and go on to the next round, which airs Sept. 24.

  • Quiz Bowl, often called “the varsity sport of the mind,” is part of Liberty’s rigorous Honors Program. It includes players from a variety of majors; several members are National Merit Finalists on full academic scholarships. Competitions resemble “Jeopardy!,” with teams buzzing in to answer questions on literature, history, geography, government, the sciences, math, art, popular culture, and sports.

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