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Two from county to compete on 'Jeopardy!' Tournament of Champions

  • Aten-png

    Tim Aten poses with Alex Trebek during the Jeopardy tournament of champions.


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    Andrew Pau poses with Alex Trebek during the Jeopardy tournament of champions.



ELYRIA — Answer: The two Lorain County residents appearing on the “Jeopardy!” Tournament of Champions this week with Alex Trebek.

If your question was: Who are Andrew Pau, of Amherst, and Tim Aten, of Vermilion? — you are right.

This year’s tournament sees Pau, 48, and Aten, 36, picking up the buzzer once more in an effort to become “Jeopardy!” champion and walk away with $250,000.

The tournament begins today and runs for two weeks, culminating with a two-day final airing Nov. 16-17. The contestant field consists of 11 players, including Pau and Aten, who won the most games since the last Tournament of Champions in November 2015. The final four spots are filled by the two most recent Teachers Tournament and College Championship winners.

Aten’s first tournament episode will air Tuesday, while Pau’s will be Friday.

Due to confidentiality contracts, we don’t know if Pau and Aten ever directly compete.

Pau first appeared on the show in April 2016 during season 32, winning six games and coming home with more than $170,000.

Aten first appeared in December during season 33, and won seven games, bringing in more than $107,000.

Both men knew they’d be going back to “Jeopardy!” some day, it was just a matter of when.

“I tried to prepare,” said Aten, a 2000 Vermilion High School graduate. “I figured it was going to be harder to study the stuff. I learned the first time, studying doesn’t help. There is just so much they can draw from. I didn’t absorb much new information.”

Aten, who holds degrees in psychology and sociology from Case Western Reserve University, also hoped for some ’90s pop culture categories — answers the younger players might not know.

“I watched them all before, so I knew what I was in for, but it didn’t affect how I played or how I strategized,” he said.

Pau also watched some of the other players, or at least kept up with them through social media and the internet.

“I didn’t have any expectations about how I was going to do,” the Oberlin College professor said. “I just wanted to enjoy the experience. Of course, it’s a little hard to maintain your zen once you’re there.”

The music theory and aural skills professor hoped for some music questions during the tournament, like he had during his first appearance, and possibly some geography, history or arts. He would have been less excited to see pop culture or sports categories.

Neither Pau nor Aten have any immediate plans to go on another game show. And neither one has spent their winnings from their first appearances.

“I’m a stodgy person,” Pau said. “I put it away for a rainy day. I took a couple of trips, (Hawaii, California, Florida), but it’s stuff I would probably do anyway. It’s good to have a little money put away.”

At some point, Aten may use his winnings to purchase a car, but other than that, it’s just “the boring stuff, like bills,” he said.

He did visit friends in Seattle and Houston, but he’s not much of a traveler and doesn’t really like stuff.

Maybe that will change if one of them becomes tournament champion. The winner goes home with $250,000, while second place claims $100,000, and third place takes $50,000.

“I came in with no expectations,” Aten said. “I figured anything can happen. I thought I’m probably going to lose, but if I don’t, it’s great.”

Contact Christina Jolliffe at 329-7155 or

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