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Notre Dame student wins big on ‘Wheel of Fortune’

| Friday, March 27, 2020

Freshman Amanda Pottorff won $12,280 during the “Wheel of Fortune” College Spring Break special last Friday, representing Notre Dame on national television and facing off against students from Northern Illinois University and San Diego State University.

Courtesy of Amanda Pottorff

Freshman Amanda Pottorff represents Notre Dame on “Wheel of Fortune” during the game show’s College Spring Break special which aired Friday, March 20.

Pottorff said she and her family have watched “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy” since she was young.

“Especially throughout high school, most everyday that I was home during the week, me and my family would watch ‘Wheel of Fortune,’” Pottorff said.

To become a contestant on the show, Pottorff submitted a short video about herself and why she wanted to be on the show.

“I didn’t really expect much, but then in October I got an email saying that they selected me to audition,” she said. 

Pottorff then auditioned for the show in Chicago, where she experienced a simulated version of the gameshow.

“They said if we were chosen for the show we would get a letter in the mail in two weeks, and two [weeks] later I got a letter and found out I was going to be on the show,” Pottorff said.

In the show contestants compete to solve word puzzle in order to win cash and prizes which are randomly determined by spinning a carnival wheel.

On the day of her game, Pottorff said she initially felt nervous, but began to feel more relaxed over the course of the day.

“I was the fifth episode that they taped that day, so I was just sitting around watching the some of other people I had been hanging out with during the day do it, so I kinda eased up a little bit,” she said.

During the game, Pottorff struggled a bit in the beginning.

“At first I kept getting a bunch of “bankrupts’ and ‘lose a turns’ so it wasn’t looking very good,” Pottorff said. “Then I got to the prize round and I won that so I got a trip to Antigua. Then I got about $4,100 in addition to that, but since the trip was worth so much I ended up actually winning the game.” 

Pottorff said she has until July of 2021 to plan the trip to Antigua that she won by answering the prize puzzle “Clear Blue Waters.” 

In addition to winning the trip to Antigua, Pottorff also won the final round by solving the puzzle which read “End of the Semester.” While Pottorff continued on to the bonus round, she did not solve the word puzzle in time to win it.

Meeting the show’s hosts, Pat Sajak and Vanna White, was Pottorff’s favorite memory of the experience. 

“Since I’ve been watching the show for a while you know, I know their faces and it was really weird to be right next to them, shaking their hands and that sort of thing,” Pottorff said. 

On the show, she mentioned she likes to run and recently joined the Catholic Church through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) program. Overall, Pottorff said she felt the experience was surreal.

“I’m glad I got to do it,” she said. “It’s something I won’t forget.” 

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