Ellen Eichner barely made it through the door of the U.S. Bank Conference Theater at the Ohio Union before friends asked about the results of her soon-to-be-aired semifinal performance on “Jeopardy!” Knowing she had to keep quiet only a little while longer, she revealed nothing.
“Wait a half hour, then you’ll know,” said the third-year in political science and communication.
The results are in.
Despite strong comeback attempts in the second round, Eichner fell behind early and couldn’t recover to advance to the two-day final round scheduled to air next week.
Eichner said she knew early on that it wasn’t her day.
“I was having trouble with the buzzer in the first round,” she said. “I knew all the answers in the movie category, but Hans and Steve got to them first.”
Hans von Walter, a student from Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tenn., edged out Eichner and Steve Greene from the University of California, Los Angeles, to move on to the finals and compete for the grand prize of $100,000.
Eichner said it was definitely von Walter’s night, especially because there were two geography-related categories, and von Walter is a “geography nut.” There were no hard feelings after the game, she said.
“I’m still good friends with Hans even though he kicked my butt,” Eichner said.
Eichner left her “Jeopardy!” stint with $10,000, a Nintendo Wii video game console, the “Jeopardy!” video game and a memorable experience.
“I was sad that I lost, but that one negative was outweighed by so many positives,” Eichner said. “It’s great to have that extra money in my bank account. My friends have been really supportive, and I fulfilled one of my lifelong dreams by being on the show.”
Eichner watched the semifinal episode with her friends and fellow members of the Ohio Union Activities Board just before they were scheduled to have a meeting.
Katie Krajny, the OUAB adviser, said the group made a few accommodations to view the show at the Union before the meeting.
“We had a good amount of new members there, which was cool because it shows they are interested in the other students and not just the events we put on,” Krajny said. “It showed them what OUAB can be about.”
Emma Taylor, Eichner’s friend and a history student at OSU, said she thinks Eichner did an amazing job.
“I’ve known her for awhile and I didn’t know she had such vast knowledge,” Taylor said. “And I am definitely still going to be her friend even though she lost.”
Eichner said that even though she is sad she lost, she went into the experience without expectations and is proud of herself.
“I can still say I won a game of ‘Jeopardy!'” she said.