H-SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Feb 7, 2012 11:25 PM by Nancy Chen

Cal Poly student, AG High grad makes it onto 'Jeopardy!'

It's been keeping a lot of Central Coast folks on their toes around here-how Cal Poly student Weston Mangin will do on Wednesday night's episode of the annual ‘Jeopardy!' College Championship.

19-year-old Mangin grew up in Arroyo Grande and is studying biomedical engineering as a freshman. He swept the competition right out of the gate last week on the first day of the tournament, in which the ultimate winner will take home $100,000.

Mangin was the winner of last Wednesday's show, the first day of the quarterfinals. That guaranteed him a spot to the semi-finals, which start Thursday, and KSBY got to follow him every step of the way from the beginning.

The competition to get on set at Sony Studios in Culver City was fierce; 12,000 college students applied online.

"Way back, I think it was April, we had to take an online test where they gave us a variety of questions, and you had a few seconds to type in the answer and submit it.," Mangin said. "And I got away from it, feeling okay, not great."

Then there was no word for months until a phone call in the fall, inviting him to the next round of auditions in Culver City.

"I get in the room," he recalled. "And I'm thinking, 'Wow, these people are really sharp, most of them are going to make really good TV, and I'm the only freshman in the room."

Writing it off as a lost cause, he thought maybe next time-but not so fast.

"December 1st, I get a call, and I'm going to ‘Jeopardy!'" he said. "And it was really cool. It was really, really cool."

And since then, the Arroyo Grande High grad says he started studying websites and TV for trivia. Mangin calls pop culture his Achilles heel but said he was ready for whatever came his way.

"I'm done preparing," he said right before the first episode started filming. "I'm not afraid. I'm just ready to go. I'm ready to get it done with."

Sequestered from his parents, Mangin first shoots some promotions for the show before going into rehearsal. And finally, it was game time this January morning on the Sony Pictures lot.

"It's like a wave," he said. "The wave is cresting right now. It's about to break, and we're all ready to get on with the show and get all that energy out and know where we stand."

Watch KSBY News at 6 p.m. Wednesday for Weston's thoughts going into his second appearance.

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