South Bay student lands himself on Jeopardy

February 18, 2010 2:47:07 PM PST
What is a super smart kid really like? Find out when we chat with a South Bay student who made his way to the Jeopardy College Tournament.

About James Hill III

Santa Clara University freshman James Hill III competed in the College Championship of Jeopardy! Hill first appeared on the show Wednesday, Feb. 3 on ABC7 at 7 p.m. to compete against Robbie Berg of the University of Pennsylvania and Rebecca Maxfield of Brown University. He continued on and won his way to the semi-finals.

Hill took an online test last fall and scored well enough to be invited to an audition in Los Angeles, where he scored well enough again to be invited to the taping in January.

On the show's website, Hill says he was giddy when he found out he was going to be on Jeopardy! and even jumped up and down and let out a big whoop.

While Hill was preparing for the game show, he said he was definitely nervous, because he had never been on national television before.

"But I was also really excited. I wasn't scared, though. I've been interested in trivia pretty much my entire life, and I have the ability to remember all kinds of useless information," he said.

The 17-year-old SCU student from San Jose, Calif., who learned how to read at the age of two and skipped kindergarten, said he has essentially been preparing for this his entire life, thanks to the number of books, magazines, and websites he has been reading on a daily basis.

Hill said he also competed in national and international tournaments in middle and high schools. But making it to Jeopardy! was definitely a first.

"After I was done with my finals last quarter, I started reading tons of books, magazines, and websites again, especially ones that have even more useless information," he laughed.

Hill is majoring in communication and thinking about double majoring in political science at SCU. After graduation, he hopes to land a gig as a journalist, either in print or broadcast.

Hill is the second student in SCU's history to compete in Jeopardy! Bryan Stofferahn was selected to go up against 14 college students in the College Championship in May of 1998.

For more on Jeopardy, go to

About Santa Clara University:

Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California's Silicon Valley, offers its 8,846 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus masters and law degrees, and engineering Ph.D.s.

Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. masters universities, California's oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice.

For more information, see