Joe Taglic didn’t think he would make the cut when he applied online for the “Jeopardy!” Teen Tournament last September. Almost a year later, he sat with 100 cheering classmates at Regis High School in Manhattan, watching himself advance to the semifinals.
“It was probably the best fun I’ve ever had,” said Taglic, 17, of participating in the show. The Valley Stream resident and his parents flew to California in March for the two-day taping.
Taglic said he expected a more competitive atmosphere with the other contestants but found everyone to be friendly.
“It was more like we were just playing ‘Jeopardy!’ together,” he said.
The game was close in the episode that aired July 25, from which Taglic advanced via a wild card spot by winning a Daily Double wager of almost $10,000.
Taglic was only permitted to speak about the rounds that had aired by the time of publication; the latest episode ran Wednesday when he was eliminated.
He credited his being “generally curious” and his time spent amassing a base of “useless information” for his high school’s Quiz Bowl team for his trivia prowess, adding that that information became decidedly useful in this case.
Before taping, Taglic brushed up on his literature and geography, areas where he felt he was weak.
During the rounds, Taglic said he was nervous but focused.
“You have to be focused to have the buzzer timing correct, and you need to have the question read and know the answer before Alex Trebek finishes reading it,” he said.
Taglic plans on attending MIT in the fall, where he said he will study either mechanical engineering or computer science.