Queens teen to compete Tuesday in ‘Jeopardy!’ College Championship

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Queens teen Laurie Beckoff will compete Tuesday in the Jeopardy College Championship.Photo courtesy of Jeopardy Productions, Inc.
Queens teen Laurie Beckoff will compete Tuesday in the Jeopardy College Championship.

A teen whiz from Queens will put her brains and button-smashing reflexes to the test Tuesday, when she competes in the “Jeopardy!” College Championship.

Laurie Beckoff, 19, will vie against 15 other young geniuses nationwide Feb. 11 for $100,000 and an automatic berth in the next Tournament of Champions.

“It was amazing. It was a life goal of mine. I’ve always wanted to do it,” said the University of Chicago sophomore. “It was more fantastic than I could have ever imagined.”

The Hollis Hills teen had tried three times before to get on the long-running quiz show, but did not advance past the audition.

A motivation to meet the show’s host, Alex Trebek — a nightly, though virtual, dinner guest — kept her going, her mother said.

“She has been determined to get on this show,” said mom, Esther Beckoff. “She grew up with Alex. He is part of our dinner ritual. I purposely have dinner ready just about 7 o’ clock, so that we can all watch ‘Jeopardy!’ together. It’s a family tradition.”

Beckoff, who studies English and political science in Chicago, said he was “really cool, very friendly.”

“It was a little nerve-wracking,” she said. “Most of the time, your head is so in the game that you don’t consider the fact that there is a camera on you. It’s definitely seems to go a lot faster than when you’re sitting at home.”

The ambitious scholar, a Harry Potter fanatic, is also a former salutatorian at Townsend Harris High School and a previous volunteer for Councilmember Mark Weprin.

“We’re very proud that a national television audience will see her brilliance and personality,” Weprin said.

The two-week tournament starts Feb. 10. Beckoff’s episode airs Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. on ABC7.

“It was really just amazing,” Beckoff said. “It was the time of my life.”

 

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