UK student Zach Atwell comes up short in ‘Jeopardy!’ college tourney

Zach Atwell
Zach Atwell

University of Kentucky senior Zach Atwell bet the farm on Final Jeopardy and got it right — Answer: The building that topped the Washington Monument as the tallest man-made structure in the world four years after its construction. Question: What is the Eiffel Tower? That doubled his total to $12,800, but it was not enough to overcome the sizable leads of his opponents in the Jeopardy College Tournament.

Julia Marsan of Georgetown University won Friday night’s round with $24,400 when the leader going into Final Jeopardy, Gary Tse of the United States Naval Academy, inexplicably bet nothing on the final question, coming in second with $22,845. Both advance to next week’s final rounds.

Atwell did have a distinctly “Jeopardy!” moment in the get-to-know-you exchange with host Alex Trebek when he asked Atwell about a class he took at UK: Chemistry of Spirits. After confirming this meant alcoholic spirits, Atwell said, “It’s a great ice breaker at parties when you can say, ‘Hey, did you know that vodka your drinking was distilled in the azeotropic (a word this history major did not understand)?’ leaving a flumoxed Trebek to say, “Actually, that would be a shut-Alex-up moment.”

While he didn’t advance to the next round, Atwell was happy to be one of the 15 finalists in the college tournament.

“I’ve watched the show for years, and to finally be on it, I’m truly blessed,” Atwell said in a video on the “Jeopardy!” Facebook page.

Follow Rich Copley on Facebook and Twitter, @copiousnotes.