Kriti Gandhi, an 18-year-old graduate of Centennial High School, won her opening round of the Jeopardy! Summer Games Teen Tournament and has advanced to the semifinals.
On the program that aired Wednesday, Gandhi defeated two contestants to earn $17,700. Her semifinal round will be televised today at 7 p.m. on WMAR (Channel 2) in Baltimore and at 7:30 p.m. on WJLA (Channel 7) in Washington. If Gandhi wins tonight, she advances to the finals, which will air tomorrow and Friday.
"It's actually really surreal," said the McGill University-bound teenager. "I actually know all these [contestants] now. It's strange, seeing them on TV. It's not an everyday experience."
Gandhi said she has been flooded with support.
"So many people called," Gandhi said about her opening-round win. "Right after the show, people were text messaging me. At one point, I was talking to three different people on three different phones."
Gandhi is one of 15 teenagers competing in the tournament being televised this month. The competition was taped in March. She said she prepared for the show by reading an almanac and using online Web sites such as Wikipedia.
"I was trying to gain as much knowledge about as many topics in a short amount of time," she said yesterday.
Gandhi is no stranger to television game shows. In May, she was an alternate on Centennial's It's Academic Super Bowl team. That team finished second and earned $10,750 in prize money for the school.
The It's Academic competition helped Gandhi prepare for Jeopardy!.
"It gave me more knowledge and quiz show experience," she said.