A junior from Yale University...

Leah Anthony Libresco

Where do you see yourself in ten years?
In ten years, I hope I'll be working for political office and that my political enemies won't have crushed me yet.

Do you think your major will give you an advantage in the College Championship?
I'd be really excited if I saw a topic for abstract algebra come up, but otherwise I don't think my math major's going to be much help today.

Who was the first person you told after you were chosen?
When I found out I was going to be on the show, I was eating lunch with all my friends, and the first thing they knew, I came running back, yelling, "I need a pen! I need a pen!" 'cause I wanted to write down what the times were to fly out. So my whole group of DS Lunch Club.

How do you cheer for your school?
Bulldog! Bulldog! Bow wow wow!

Show your school spirit and tune in!

2010-A College Championship wildcard semifinalist: $10,000.

Hometown: Mineola, New York.

Jeopardy! Message Board user name: Leah.L

Leah Anthony Libresco Blog Entry 2
February 8, 2010

Jeopardy! flew us all in a day early, to compensate for any travel delays, so my family and I spent the extra time visiting the Getty Center, hiking in Topanga State Park, and seeing Venice Beach. Since we knew all the Jeopardy! contestants were staying in the same hotel, my mom decided to try to find them by whistling the Jeopardy! think music every time we were in the elevator with someone who looked the right age.

It kind of worked. No one responded to the whistling, but, as I was discussing the idea in the hall with my mother, Dan D’Addario turned around and said “Did you say Jeopardy!?”

I didn’t meet the rest of the contestants until the next day when Maggie picked us all up and took us to the studio to go over the rules. Because there would be four wild cards chosen by final scores, we couldn’t watch any game that preceded our own, or we’d know what score we had to beat. Lucky me, I was in the last game.

I spent the entire day in the green room with Lindsay and Prashant, waiting our turn to play. We passed the time watching movies (with the volume turned up to make sure we couldn’t hear the games taping in the next room). We watched (500) Days of Summer, Tropic Thunder, and a fair amount of Bend it Like Beckham before we finally were called to go on. (And just in time! The movie we had left in the pile was The Hurt Locker, not exactly right for getting excited for Jeopardy!).

We got to warm up on the buzzers one more time and then the lights came up, Alex Trebek walked out, and the game began.

Playing my first real game of Jeopardy! was exciting and surreal. It didn’t feel very different from the warm up games we were playing, since I was too focused on the clues to pay much attention to the stakes, the audience, or Alex. When I saw the first listing of categories, I knew I’d nail CIVIL RIGHTS and was a little panicked at the prospect of having to answer any Bible questions.

Boy was I wrong.

My poor activist, historian parents watched as I flubbed question after question in the CIVIL RIGHTS category (my brother told me later that my mom was audibly groaning in the audience). In fairness to me, a number of the questions were geography based, and, if you watch carefully, I’m pretty sure I whiffed on every geography question that I tried to answer in any category.

Things were looking bleak in Single Jeopardy!, until I started picking up steam in the Bible category. I knew the John the Baptist answer solely because of a strange expression my family uses. (When asking a parent to make lunch, my brother and I tend to say, while trying to think of what we want for lunch “Bring me… bring me the head of John the Baptist!”). I was thrown, militant atheist that I am, by picking up so many Bible questions, but I just kept going and hoped that my boyfriend’s Catholic parents were watching.

The other highlight for me was the nuclear power category. I love reading about science, and, since I was little, I have been reading one of those peppy science books for children from the 50s about how nuclear power would solve the energy crisis, so I was pleased to be able to get those questions (though, as per usual, I muffed the one related to geography).

When we got to Final Jeopardy!, I was trailing, but I figured I had a good shot at RECENT BOOKS since I read The New York Times Book Review obsessively. I had $12,000, and I decided to bet $9,000 since I thought that a score above $20,000 should lock in a wild card slot for me. When the clue came up I was certain I had the answer, but my score wasn’t high enough to beat Lindsay. When Alex began reading the names of the wild cards, I was just hoping he would only read three names. I was so delighted to find out that I had made it through (it turned out $21,000 was the highest wild card score) and couldn’t wait to come back the next day.

The only downside, from my point of view, was getting through on a question about Dan Brown. I hated The Da Vinci Code, so I hate being in debt to Dan Brown. But he got me my semifinal spot, so I guess, in the future, I’ll have to lay off the snark.

Leah Anthony Libresco Blog Entry 1
February 2, 2010

I didn’t find out I was going to be on Jeopardy! for a whole day after I should have. It was almost the end of school, so between writing final papers in the underground library and having meetings for the upcoming elections in the Yale Political Union (a student debate forum), I was spending most of my time in places with no reception or with my phone on silent. I didn’t get around to checking my messages until about 11pm Thursday night when I found I had one that began “This is Maggie from JEOPARDY!…”

Since Maggie didn’t confirm anything on the message, just telling me to call back as soon as I could, I was both anxious and excited. I didn’t know why else Jeopardy! would be calling, but I couldn’t be sure I’d be playing until I spoke to Maggie. Unfortunately, I go to school on the East Coast.

I woke up in plenty of time for my early morning abstract algebra class, and kept counting down until noon, when I figured California offices would be open. After class, I went to go join a group of friends for lunch and was extremely antisocial, sitting on the periphery and alternately hitting redial on my phone and muttering, “I hate time zones.”

Finally, I got through, and ran out onto a balcony so I could hear Maggie without the noise of the dining hall. The next thing my friends knew, I came tearing back into the room yelling “I need a paper and pen RIGHT NOW!” Once my friend Dylan was helping me write down dates for flying out to Los Angeles, the whole group figured it out pretty fast.

The moment I got off the phone, we all started yelling and dancing around. Only one thing gave me pause, after I knocked over Chris in a frenzy of jumping and hugging, he looked back at me and said, “You realize you’re going to have to learn something about sports now, right?”

Leah appeared in the following 2 archived games:
#5852, aired 2010-02-09 Leah Anthony Libresco vs. Ashley Walker vs. Surya Sabhapathy 2010-A College Championship semifinal game 2.
#5850, aired 2010-02-05 Lindsay Eanet vs. Leah Anthony Libresco vs. Prashant Raghavendran 2010-A College Championship quarterfinal game 5.

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