James Clemens’ Narayan wins $100,000 on ‘Jeopardy!’
MADISON – How can anyone, especially a 15-year-old teenager, keep a secret for seven months about winning $100,000?
Sharath Narayan, a sophomore at James Clemens High School, won $100,000 as champion in the annual “Jeopardy!” Teen Tournament, held in Culver City, Calif. in April. He couldn’t divulge his success until after the final episode aired on Nov. 22.
The “Jeopardy!” tournament aired from Nov. 9-22 and featured 15 of America’s brightest 14- to 17-year-olds, competing for a $100,000 grand prize. The tournament was taped with a live audience at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. in April.
“I didn’t have any particular strategy, except … I wanted to go out there and play my own game,” Narayan said. “I didn’t want to play in a way that was that risky, so I was more focused on controlling the board. Almost every time I regained control of the board, I went back to lower-valued clues and proceeded down the category.”
James Clemens held a ‘watch party’ on Nov. 21 and 22 for Narayan. A throng of students, teachers and Principal Dr. Brian Clayton gathered to view the two final games of the tournament on a massive, multi-paneled monitor on the cafeteria wall.
Narayan’s competitors were Alec Fischthal, a junior from North Woodmere, N.Y. and Michael Borecki, a junior from Darien, Conn.
Entering “Final Jeopardy!,” Narayan led with $20,000, compared to $13,600 and $10,000 for the other contestants. In the category “Famous Names,” the answer was “At a May 1989 ceremony in Cape Town, he received a bachelor of laws correspondence degree in absentia.”
Narayan answered correctly with “Who is Nelson Mandela? to finish in the lead with $28,000, followed by the competitors’ $16,500 and $0.
On day 2 of the finals, in “Final Jeopardy!” Narayan had $10,800 but trailed Fischthal with $11,600. Borecki with $7,200. In the category “Early America,” the answer was “William Bradford wrote that this document was partly inspired by the “mutinous speeches” of some passengers.”
All three contestants answered correctly with “Mayflower Compact.” Borecki doubled his money to $14,200 for his two-day total. Fischthal doubled his money to total $39,700. However, Narayan strategically calculated the minimum he needed to win, bet $901 and won the tournament with $39,701 — only $1 ahead of Fischthal.