If general manager Dan Schwalenberg had to pick one of his store associates to appear on “Jeopardy!” – it was going to be Mitchell Macek.
“Mitchell is thorough and has great attention to detail,” Dan said.
Mitchell, an employee at our York, Pennsylvania store And rising sophomore at Villanova University, was selected to represent his school in the “Jeopardy!” National College Championship.
He’s one of just 36 students chosen to participate in this competition, with the winner of the tournament earning a $250,000 grand prize and the title of Jeopardy! National College Champion.
From a dream to reality
Mitchell was on a shift at the store when he got the phone call from the show producers saying he had been selected to participate,
“I said you’ve got to be kidding me,” Mitchell said. “It took about 10 minutes of reassurance from the producers for me to actually buy in that it wasn’t a joke and that I was actually going to be on ‘Jeopardy!’.”
It was a long process for Mitchell. He took the online test for consideration for the show, then after about four months was invited to take a second test. He saw that as a good sign as he had never made it that far in the process in years past when he tried to get on the show. One audition over Zoom and another nine months of waiting, Mitchell was finally selected as one of the shows participants.
Mitchell also credits his work with tech as being a contribution to his success in the audition process.
“A couple of questions were easier during the auditioning process because of my understanding of tech,” Mitchell said. “I think it definitely contributed to my knowledge for the show.”
Sharing the big news
Mitchell was flown out to Los Angeles to film his episode a couple days before Thanksgiving, which meant having to keep this accomplishment under wraps until it was officially announced.
But once he could, the outpour of congrats and excitement was everywhere.
“My family was ecstatic,” Mitchell said. “My friends and I watch the show together all the time, so to finally say, ‘Hey guys, I was on the show,’ was exciting.”
An experience of a lifetime
Mitchell was getting the opportunity of a lifetime to be on “Jeopardy!”, but the moment did not come without nerves.
“Everything before going on stage was very nerve wracking,” Mitchell said. “The couple of days before actually going into the studio were perhaps the most terrifying for me because I was just waiting in anticipation.”
Thankfully for Mitchell, once he hit the stage and the lights came on, the nerves went away.
“When I actually got up there the adrenaline just took over and I kind of got hyper fixated on the game,” he said. “It just went by so quickly when it was over, I was like, ‘Oh that was fast.’”
Beyond the buzzer
Outside of school and the local Best Buy store, Mitchell keeps his schedule busy. Mitchell is an events/production manager and a lead technician for the school’s student run events production company. With his leftover free time, Mitchell has he volunteers at a local youth nonprofit helping tutor kids after school ends.
After college, he plans to enter the engineering or teaching field, but more gameshows could also be in his future.
“‘Jeopardy!’ was always the big one for me, but if I had the opportunity, I’d like to get on ‘The Chase,’ ‘$1,000,000 Pyramid’ and ‘Wheel of Fortune,” Mitchell said.
It’s safe to say this likely won’t be the last time we see Mitchell in the gameshow spotlight.