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updated: 5/29/2014 10:45 AM

North Shore native looks for 19th 'Jeopardy!' win

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  • North Shore native Julia Collins of Wilmette won her 18th straight game on "Jeopardy!" She'll try for a 19th win on Thursday. "Jeopardy!" airs locally at 2:30 p.m. on ABC 7.

    North Shore native Julia Collins of Wilmette won her 18th straight game on "Jeopardy!" She'll try for a 19th win on Thursday. "Jeopardy!" airs locally at 2:30 p.m. on ABC 7.

Associated Press

Answer: She predicted in her eighth grade yearbook that she would someday be a "Jeopardy!" champion.

Question: Who is Julia Collins?

To be fair, anyone who watches contestants go egghead-to-egghead on the show wouldn't be surprised if any one of them made the prediction.

But Collins has made good on her prediction, and then some.

She earned her 18th consecutive victory on Wednesday, bringing her total winnings to $391,600, according to the "Jeopardy!" website. That also makes her the show's third-winningest contestant.

Collins will seek her 19th win against two new contestants Thursday; the episode airs locally at 2:30 p.m. on ABC 7. If she does claim a 19th victory, she would be tied for second place in all-time consecutive wins, the "Jeopardy!" website said.

On the episode that aired Tuesday, the 31-year-old resident of Wilmette became the third person in "Jeopardy!" history to win as many as 17 consecutive nontournament games, earning her a total of $372,700 and making her the show's winningest woman.

"I went into this feeling like I could win a show and put in a good effort ... but this, it's kind of a daydream come true," Collins said Tuesday.

Collins' appearances on the show also answer another question all but her closest friends and family who watched some of the shows being taped had about why she didn't seem stressed about quitting her consulting job or in a hurry to find work.

"I did a lot of hemming and hawing about why I was less aggressive than I could have been," said Collins, explaining that she was prohibited by the show from talking about the program at all between mid-January, when she started taping them, and April, when they started to air, or the $10,000 to $35,000 she was winning a day.

Sworn to secrecy about shows that haven't aired, she wouldn't say if she gets her 19th win on Thursday's show.

Her chuckle, however, suggests she hasn't caught the all-time winningest contestant, Ken Jennings, who won 74 straight games.

That's not to say she hasn't had plenty to say about the show. She has posted dozens of tweets about shows as they've aired, confessing she made a mathematical error when deciding how much she could bet on Final Jeopardy and still win with a wrong answer even if another contestant got it right.

She mentioned questions that as an art history major, she couldn't believe she got wrong, as well as one she got right, "Who was Lucian Freud?"

"I think Alex (Trebek) was impressed with that one," she said.

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