BEDFORD — A local teen dominated the ultimate trivia challenge on Thursday during his national television debut on “Jeopardy!” Teen Tournament, easily advancing to the semifinals.
Winning $20,200, Caleb Richmond, 15, showcased his trivia smarts as one of 15 contestants in the ultimate quiz show for American teenagers.
“You are off to a very good start,” Alex Trebek, host of “Jeopardy!” told Caleb during the first round on Thursday. He had quickly garnered $5,000 in prize earnings after answering questions about Mount Everest, the 2015 Paris attacks and other topics such as world geography, Broadway debuts, traffic signs and more.
With control of the board, Caleb, a sophomore at Phillips Exeter Academy, effortlessly collected more than $11,000 before the second round got underway — significantly more than his two contestants.
Caleb was competing in day two of the “Jeopardy!” Teen Tournament, beating out two other contestants from Alabama and Illinois. He will now advance to the semifinals.
Caleb and his family gathered Thursday at Chunky’s in Manchester for a special viewing party, and to celebrate Caleb’s accomplishment for being selected to participate in the television competition.
“It has been hard keeping it a secret. I have a lot of people asking me how I did, but I signed a nondisclosure agreement,” he said earlier when asked about his success on the show.
Caleb was the only contestant chosen from New England. The trivia buff decided to register for the “Jeopardy!” Teen Tournament in March and completed the required online test, which had about 12,000 applicants.
“Back in March when he told us he was taking the online test for Teen ‘Jeopardy!’ we just kind of thought, ‘Of course you are. That’s just so Caleb,’” said his mother, Tracy Richmond.
A few months after completing the online test, Caleb was one of 300 teens asked to attend an audition in San Francisco, Calif., to narrow the field of competitors.
Less than two weeks later, the Bedford teen was notified that he was chosen to compete in the highly publicized tournament, which began airing on Wednesday.
On Thursday, Caleb competed against Rotimi Kukoyi, a freshman from Alabama, and Isabella Pagano, a freshman from Illinois, answering questions about women authors, health, medicine and more.
In Thursday’s Final ‘Jeopardy!’ round, his opponents were stumped, but Caleb did not hesitate.
The question: One of his many horses was named Roitelet and was ridden on the way home from Russia in 1812.
The correct response: Who is Napoleon Bonaparte?
The ultimate winner of the teen tournament will secure $100,000 in cash. The quarterfinals continue today, Monday and Tuesday.
The show airs weekdays at 7:30 p.m. on WBZ, CBS Boston.