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Harvard Sophomore Shriya Yarlagadda ’25 Returns to ‘Jeopardy!’

Harvard sophomore Shriya S. Yarlagadda ’25 made her second Jeopardy! Thursday on the show's High School Reunion Tournament.
Harvard sophomore Shriya S. Yarlagadda ’25 made her second Jeopardy! Thursday on the show's High School Reunion Tournament. By J. Sellers Hill
By J. Sellers Hill and Nia L. Orakwue, Crimson Staff Writers

Harvard sophomore Shriya S. Yarlagadda ’25 returned to “Jeopardy!” Thursday evening for the show’s High School Reunion Tournament, scoring $21,601 and falling just $1,622 short of advancing to the next round.

Yarlagadda previously competed in the show’s 2019 Teen Tournament as a high school sophomore, where she reached the semifinal round.

Yarlagadda said the reunion tournament lived up to its name.

“I had made some of the most wonderful friends when I competed in high school,” Yarlagadda said in a Monday interview. “To have the opportunity to go back and meet everyone again, have another shot at the stage was just really incredible.”

A life-long Jeopardy! fan, Yarlagadda first found herself on the show after scoring highly on an online qualifying test.

“I think that the thing that helped me the most was doing Quiz Bowl in middle school and high school,” Yarlagadda said. “Before that, I had done geography bees, and so I think I had that pretty solid geography knowledge base that would be very connected to so many other subjects as well.”

Yarlagadda studied extensively for the competition over winter break, especially literature, a weak category for her. But when it came time to compete, she said her time on stage was “very much a blur.”

“I was just rolling with the punches and focusing on trying to answer everything as best as I could.”

Though Yarlagadda actually competed in late January, she was forbidden from disclosing any results until her episode aired on Feb. 23. This policy extended to close family and friends, who she said largely refrained from prying.

“I was just able to tell my friends ‘Hey, this is a stressful experience already. I would really appreciate it if you guys understand the fact that I’m under NDA,’” she said.

Similarly, Yarlagadda knew that she would be competing for multiple weeks before she was able to tell her roommates. When she finally broke the news, Yarlagadda said her friends were “incredibly sweet.”

“Their immediate reaction was to start looking up flight prices, so they could try to go out to LA,” she said.

Though they didn’t make it out to see the live taping, Yarlagadda and her friends held a watch party in the Lowell House junior common room.

After a nerve-wracking first “Jeopardy!” appearance, Yarlagadda said she found it much easier to enjoy the experience the second time around.

“I don’t think there was a single moment that day where I felt any sense of nerves and it was just overall really enjoyable and there was no negativity at all,” she said.

—Staff writer J. Sellers Hill can be reached at sellers.hill@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @SellersHill.

—Staff writer Nia L. Orakwue can be reached at nia.orakwue@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @nia_orakwue.

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