CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Beth Vencill had 10 seconds to figure out what _ _ NAL _ _ ASE meant.
She knew the answer was two words, and she knew it was a thing. Wheel of Fortune doesn't like to make winning easy for its contestants.
But she nailed it.
With her answer "final phase," the Charleston-native and elementary school teacher won the popular TV game show and emerged with prizes worth more than $46,000.
"I didn't expect to win. It was just surreal, it still is kind of crazy," Vencill said Friday in phone conversation.
"I was watching it again last night, just kind of zoned out doing something on my computer and I heard (Wheel of Fortune host) Pat Sajak say my name and I was like 'Oh wait, that's me!' " she said.
Although the Wheel of Fortune episode featuring Vencill aired Thursday, she filmed the show in September. Since then, Vencill, 35, has playfully sidestepped constant questions from family and friends asking how she fared. She said she told people she did well and won some stuff, but never revealed the extent of her winnings.
All told, Vencill walked away with a brand new Volkswagen Beetle, a trip to Antigua and cash. The prizes are exciting, but she said the amount of public support she received meant even more.
A second-grade teacher at Bible Center School in Charleston for the past 12 years, the church had a public viewing party Thursday for Vencill's episode. She said more than 300 people came to cheer her on.
"I know I won some stuff, but I was really overwhelmed by the love and support of my friends and family," Vencill said. "That's what I feel makes me a true winner."
She almost didn't win anything, though. After solving the first toss-up puzzle - the answer was "two turtledoves" - another contestant went on a tear. He answered several puzzles in a row and took a commanding lead.