Saint Stephen's graduate appears again Tuesday in college semifinal episode

Growing up in Lakewood Ranch, Hannah Sage loved learning, later joining academic competition teams in high school and college. Now she’s showing her skills off on a national stage as a “Jeopardy!” contestant.

She competes in this year’s college championship of the long-running game show hosted by Alex Trebek, during which 15 students vie for a grand prize of $100,000 and a berth in the next edition of the Tournament of Champions.

Sage, who graduated from Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School in Bradenton and is a sophomore at the University of Central Florida, won $17,000 in her “Jeopardy!” debut last week and advanced to the next round. Her semifinals episode airs locally at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday on CBS.

For Sage, it’s the culmination of her longtime interest in academic learning and competition.

“I was always that kid who was reading a book or using little flashcard things when I was little instead of playing video games or being on the computer,” Sage said. “I was always the one who wanted to learn more. It’s my way of being able to show that off and apply some of the weird information I’ve picked up along the way.”

It also means that she now gets to appear on — and possibly win — a television show she and her family has watched since she was a child.

“Every time I visit my grandparents, we always watch it,” Sage said. “My family moved in with my grandparents recently, so now when we eat dinner, we have the TV on and we all watch 'Jeopardy!' as we eat dinner together.”

While attending Saint Stephen’s, Sage competed on the school’s academic team, which won a state championship her senior year. Sage graduated as a National Merit Scholar and credits her time there with preparing her for “Jeopardy!”

She’s majoring in mathematics at UCF with a biology track, hoping to attend medical school and become a dermatologist. She also participates in the college’s Quiz Bowl Team.

Sage auditioned for “Jeopardy!” by taking an online test. Her score was high enough she was invited to audition in-person in Atlanta, where she had a handwritten test, mock game and interview.

In her “Jeopardy!” debut, she squared off against students from Stanford University and Rochester Institute of Technology in categories including "Women in the Bible" and Harry Potter, the latter of which Sage said “made my day.”

Sage can’t reveal where she ended up in the tournament yet, but said competing on the show was an amazing experience.

“I still sort of don’t believe that it happened, even though that it did,” Sage said. “Being able to actually meet Alex Trebek and see him in person was super cool. I grew up seeing him on TV and being like, ‘Huh, maybe one day I could actually meet him’ and now I finally got to.”