Wild Night for Joe Taglic '14 as he Qualifies for the Jeopardy! Teen Tournament Semifinals
watch_party"What is the long jump?"

That question was the first of many correct responses given by Joe Taglic '14 during Friday evening's episode of the Jeopardy! Teen Tournament. Quick recall, fast clicking on his signaling device, and sharp focus were on display as Taglic began his night of questions and answers with host Alex Trebek.

The recent Regis graduate, who will be attending MIT in the fall, also landed on—and correctly answered—the game's first "daily double". This put him in a tie for the lead at the first commercial break, in what was proving to be a highly competitive match early on.

"The match started quick and the gameplay was extremely fast," Taglic said while reflecting on his Jeopardy appearance. "I remember turning to Sydney at the second commercial break and we both couldn't believe the first round was already over. It was going by so fast."

(Above: Attendees of a viewing party held in the Regis auditorium last night watched intently as Joe Taglic '14 answered a question in the first round of Jeopardy.)

Taglic was watching the match last night in the Regis High School auditorium, where the school hosted a Jeopardy viewing party for the Regis community. A large crowd of alumni, parents, students, and faculty gathered to support Taglic and cheer him on during the match. The episode was projected on a massive screen, and lots of food, snacks, and refreshments were on hand to help create a festive atmosphere.

Whether an easy early-round response, or a difficult late-round response, the crowd roared in applause every time Taglic correctly buzzed in.

"Watching myself on TV was a weird experience. I don't think I will get used to it quickly. But the turnout tonight was amazing, I am so appreciative of all the support I've received. It's one of the things that makes Regis so special," said Taglic.

When Jeopardy host Alex Trebek chatted with Taglic during the interview segment of the show, the conversation quickly turned to Regis.

"Joe Taglic is senior at Regis High School," Trebek stated as he began his interview. "That wasn't named for Regis Philbin, was it?"

"No, the other way around, in fact. Regis was named for our high school," quipped Taglic.

Trebek then asked Taglic what was special about Regis. "It's the only Catholic tuition-free [high] school in the country," explained Taglic. "Everyone there is attending on a scholarship. We're a good group of guys."

Understanding Regis's reputation, Trebek concluded, "When you go back to school, you ought to tell some of your classmates and schoolmates to try out for Jeopardy. A lot of bright people there."

Watch Now: Alex Trebek interviews Joe Taglic '14 on last night's episode of the Jeopardy! Teen Tournament (story continues below the video)


Throughout the course of the match, Taglic racked up an impressive $12,000 giving him a slight lead with just two questions remaining in the game. Unfortunately, a competitor found the game's last "daily double" and, with a strategic wager, bumped Taglic into second place heading into Final Jeopardy.

"While it’s obviously not the optimal scenario, I still felt a bit comfortable entering Final Jeopardy in second place. Final Jeopardy strategy is one of the finer elements of the Jeopardy! contest, I thought that $12,000 was not enough to advance on a wild card, so I just had to do the math and pick a number in the right range."

The Final Jeopardy question, from the category "WEBSITES", was one Taglic knew from the moment it was read.

"When I read the clue, I honestly couldn’t believe we had gotten such an easy question. I wrote down "facebook" right away and then remembered the category was "WEBSITES" so I threw on a ".com" to complete the web address."

Taglic's correct response in Final Jeopardy completed his game with an impressive total of $21,998. Though he did not win the match, his second place total was enough to earn him a wild card spot in a semifinal match next week.

"Once I had written down my answer, I was more than content. I was very confident in my answer and I had wagered a lot, so I figured I had a great chance to make the semifinals. After waiting all day in the green room and playing a highly competitive game, I was thrilled and relieved to have advanced."

Taglic is certain his experiences at Regis helped propel him to perform well in the televised quarterfinal stage of the Jeopardy! Teen Tournament.

"One thing that certainly prepared me for keeping my composure under pressure was debate at Regis. I feel like years of thinking, speaking, and interacting with near-strangers in various regional high schools definitely helped when I had to do the same with near-strangers on national TV."

When asked about representing Regis on a nationally broadcast program, Taglic replied, "It was a ton of fun! It was especially great to be watching with almost a hundred other members of the Regis community, because everyone was cheering me on and it really did feel like I was representing all of them. I even met some alumni who had been on the show, which was incredible. I was astounded by the number of incoming freshman who showed up, and was really happy to have people from my own class return to support me in person."

Channel 7's ABC News proudly promoted our local Jeopardy whiz in news segments that aired Friday evening and Saturday morning. A news crew came to record the celebration at Regis and interview Joe after the episode aired. Below are a few of those clips. (Story continues below the videos)

Watch Now: ABC 7 evening news anchor Sade Baderinwa reports on Joe Taglic '14 and the Jeopardy! viewing party held at Regis High School. At the conclusion of the clip, weatherman Lee Goldberg remarks, "Doing Regis High School proud; nice job." (WABC 7 Eyewitness News, 11pm Broadcast | July 25, 2014)

Watch Now: ABC 7 news promotional teaser for an upcoming segment on Joe Taglic '14 and the Jeopardy! viewing party held at Regis High School. (WABC 7 Eyewitness News This Morning | July 25, 2014)


Watch Now: ABC 7 morning news anchor Rob Nelson reports on Joe Taglic '14 and the Jeopardy! viewing party held at Regis High School. At the conclusion of the clip, in regards to Taglic's success on the show, anchorwoman Lisa Colagrossi remarks, "Just getting into Regis High School is an accomplishment enough!" (WABC 7 Eyewitness News This Morning | July 25, 2014)

Keith Williams, a former Jeopardy contestant who was the winner of the 2003 Jeopardy College Championship, also attended and interviewed Taglic for his blog about game theory. The blog, titled "The Final Wager" provides daily analysis of Final Jeopardy wagers. You can view the post on Friday's game here: https://thefinalwager.co/2014/07/25/final-jeopardy-july-25-2014/

Taglic's semifinal match will be aired on Tuesday, July 29. The winners from each of the three semifinal matches next week will compete in a 2-day championship beginning on Thursday.

"I don’t get to keep the money, unfortunately, but I am now guaranteed a minimum $10,000 so that will help pay for college," said Taglic. "All in all, it was a lot of fun and I can’t wait until Tuesday!"

Founded in 1914 by an anonymous benefactor and supported by the generosity of her family, its alumni and friends, Regis High School offers tuition-free Jesuit college preparatory education to Roman Catholic young men from the New York metropolitan area who demonstrate superior intellectual and leadership potential. In the admissions process, special consideration is given to those who cannot otherwise afford a Catholic education. Regis High School remains the only all-scholarship Catholic secondary school in the country.

Posted: 7/26/14