What happened when you found out you were going to be a contestant?
Well, I had an unusual experience trying out. I'm from Sioux Falls, which is kind of in the middle of nowhere; we're not near any really major cities. And so I signed up for the one in Nashville. (There was one in Chicago, but that was kind of an inconvenient month for me.) So, my dad and actually I had to fly down to Nashville once we got the audition, and we stayed in the hotel and we did the audition, and I felt pretty good about it. And actually, as we were walking out, we met Tony and two of the other other people who had auditioned us eating in the café, and they said, "Oh, you're the kid from South Dakota," and so we said, "Oh, yeah, that's where we're from," and so we thought maybe that would be a good way to keep me fresh in their minds. So, sure enough, about three, four weeks ago, we got home, and I got a FedEx package, and it was from Culver City, California. And I thought, "Well, I wonder what that could possibly be!" And so I opened it up, and there was the information, and so we--my mom and I, we were the only ones home--and so we were getting really excited about it, and we thought, "Oh... well, we should tell a bunch of people about it!" And then I said, "No, no, Mom, we should wait, and we should slowly tell people--we don't want to bring this all out at once." But it leaked out soon enough, and so everybody's been really excited for me, because there's not always a lot that goes on in South Dakota that's exciting. And so, here I am, and I'll hopefully represent my state well.
How did you prepare for today?
I've been kind of low-key as far as getting prepared for it goes. Played Trivial Pursuit a little bit. I happened to have the CD-ROM game from three, four years ago that I had just gotten as a gift, and so I played that a little bit. Just basic trivia brush-up. I'm basically going to go off a lot of prior knowledge, so hopefully that will be enough to carry me through.
If you had a "dream Jeopardy! category," what would it be?
Oh, if I had a dream category, it would probably be WORLD CAPITALS, WORLD GEOGRAPHY, that kind of a thing, or U.S. HISTORY.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Ten years from now, hopefully, I will be working--I could either be working for the government, the State Department, potentially, or I could be working overseas in maybe an embassy, or working with something with diplomatic relations, or something like that, so...
What will you do with the money you win?
Boy, if I win a bunch of money, most of it will probably go for college--college is fairly expensive, so that'll be a pretty good chunk of it--and then, you know, I might use a couple hundred dollars here and there for personal things.
Do you have a particular role model?
I think one of my role models--and this is true for a lot of the people at my school, I think--is our A.P. U.S. History teacher, Thomas Lubeck. He's a very smart guy. He was at Cambridge last year, actually, studying--the year before, actually--and then last year I took his class, and everybody who's in his class just loves being a student of his; he just really knows what he's talking about. And that's one of the reasons why U.S. history is a strong point for me now. Hi, Mr. Lubeck, I hope you're looking at this online and not scoffing right now. I know you don't like attention.