First Ball State student competes on ‘Jeopardy!’

Alex Sventeckis's dream comes true

Senior marketing major Alex Sventeckis poses with 14 other contestants and Alex Trebek on the set of the
Senior marketing major Alex Sventeckis poses with 14 other contestants and Alex Trebek on the set of the

Who: Alex Sventeckis
What: Jeopardy! College Championship
When: The show airs 7 p.m. Friday

Jeopardy Trivia Questions

Rhyme Time
Just one radio advertising song

— What is a single jingle?

Ice Cream
This ice cream was invented in 1929 and named, in part, to reflect the difficult economic times ahead

— What is Rocky Road?

It completes the line “Shall I compare thee to…”

— What is a “Summer’s Day”?

Books By Reporters
“Bush at War,” “Plan of Attack” & “State of Denial” are books by this famed journalist

— Who is Bob Woodward?

An arm bone, or an adjective meaning “funny”

— What is humerus/humorous?

Speaking in Tongues
This language was invented in Warsaw in 1887 by Dr. L.L. Zamenhof

— What is Esperanto?

Cable TV Personalities
The Scottish-born chef is known for his TV rants at weaker restaurateurs

— Who is Gordon Ramsay?

Six categories. Three rounds. One winner. This is what faced Alex Sventeckis once he stepped behind the podium for the trivia-style television show, “Jeopardy!”

Sventeckis is the first Ball State student to be in the “Jeopardy!” College Championship.

For the senior marketing major, it was a childhood dream come true. Sventeckis said he would sit and watch host Alex Trebek challenge players as the trivia questions popped up on the iconic blue screen.

“Ever since I was five years old I still remember sitting on the couch watching the show and playing along,” Sventeckis said. “It’s always been a thing I’ve loved to do. It just always fun for me.”

When Sventeckis heard about the College Championship for “Jeopardy!” a year ago, he decided to give it a try. Sventeckis took an online test and received a callback in May to travel to Nashville and audition for the show.

Then over Thanksgiving Break, he got a call saying he was chosen to compete on the show. Sventeckis and his father were flown to Los Angeles for one week during the taping.

“My dad has been the most helpful,” Sventeckis said. “He’s also been a really big fan, too and always loved the show. So it’s why I auditioned in the first place. He’s been extremely supportive throughout the whole thing.”

“Jeopardy!” is based on general knowledge and can test contestants on a wide variety of topics. Sventeckis used trivia books as well as websites to prepare and gather as much information as he could before playing on the show. His goal was to pick up information as it came along.

He tried to learn everything about pop culture, science and different parts of academia along with general knowledge.

After Sventeckis filled his head with random information, it was time to take to the stage. Due to the show’s rules, Sventeckis couldn’t reveal how much money he won in the game and how many rounds he competed in until after the show airs Friday.

This wouldn’t be Sventeckis’ first time in front of a television camera, though. During his high school years, he participated in a similar trivia-style show called “Westfield Insurance Brain Game,” where high schools compete against each other by being the first to buzz in and correctly answer a question.

When it came to “Jeopardy!”, Sventeckis was used to playing the game from his couch, but taking to the stage in front of a national audience was a whole other experience.

“When you’re up there onstage in front of an audience, you have the board out there and you’re ready to go,” Sventeckis said. “It puts you in a completely different mentality.”

Playing against other students from other colleges nationwide with each person’s goal being to stay calm, push the button, answer the clues correctly and win or lose money, there was also a competitive atmosphere.

The students did compete against one another, but also managed to maintain a friendly atmosphere. Each had their different interests and activities in which they’ve participated, but they also had their similarities. The main one being a passion for “Jeopardy!”

“We still keep in touch, actually,” Sventeckis said.

Sventeckis encourages more students to represent Ball State on “Jeopardy!” by taking a shot at competing.

“I’d love to go out there and see some more Cardinals ten, fifteen, twenty years from now even, and be able to cheer them on from home,” Sventeckis said.

Which is exactly what Sventeckis and his brothers of the fraternity Sigma Nu will be doing when the show airs.

The chapter members will take a break from Valentine’s Day festivities to gather around the television at 7 p.m. Friday in the Sigma Nu house.

“It’s honestly a really exciting week for Sigma Nu,” Phil Iwinski, junior history major and president of Sigma Nu, said. “We’ve been talking about it since we found out. We’ve been marking down the days.”

Sventeckis, having been in Sigma Nu since August of 2010, told his brothers of his news in January. To them it was no surprise of his accomplishment. Even when Sventeckis was a new member, he remembers sitting on the couch and watching “Jeopardy!” with his brothers, beating them nine times out of ten every time.

“They’ve always been very supportive of me,” Sventeckis said.