Olathe teen competes on ‘Jeopardy!’ Friday

If you’re trying to get on “Jeopardy!” you might follow the lead of 16-year-old Evan Eschliman of Olathe: His well of knowledge is wide if not deep and … “I have some pretty strange hobbies.”

Actually he’s talking about the not-so-weird stuff he does in 4-H like gardening, sewing and cooking. Schoolwise, he plays oboe and likes geography, biology and American history.

And the people at “Jeopardy!” like Evan. He recently competed in the show’s Teen Tournament, which has been airing this week. Catch Evan’s appearance in the quarterfinals at 4 p.m. Friday on KSHB-TV. He taped that round in late February in Los Angeles, and of course he can’t reveal the results, although he was guaranteed $5,000 just for being one of the 15 players.

But back to gardening. The Olathe South sophomore says he’s a bit behind this year. “I guess I kept waiting for some snow, and then I realized we’re not going to have any,” he says. He’s planning tomatoes, bell peppers, flowers and raspberry bushes (which are “pretty easy”).

Evan’s road to “Jeopardy!” started by taking an online test more than a year ago. Last summer he was invited to auditions at Crown Center, which included a 50-question written test, mock play with buzzers, and an interview. He is the only student from Missouri or Kansas to land in this year’s Teen Tournament.

Players who advanced beyond the first round were taped in Washington in April. Those contests will be shown next week.

Tim Engle, tengle@kcstar.com