Challenge Dirty 30: The 30 Greatest Players to Never Win
With the news that for the Challenge Dirty 30 that they will be playing for a million dollars, let’s talk about the greatest players in Challenge history who could not put it all together. We will put an emphasis on compiled stats versus a one season wonder. In example, Brittini Sherrod on the Duel 2 was better in her one season that any season by Robin Hibbard, but Robin did 9 seasons where she racked up a ton of appearances.
30 Amanda Garcia — 2 seasons, first season (Rivals 3), 1–2 elimination record, Highest Finish: 5th Place on Invasion of the Champions
In another universe, Amanda gets to the bell instead of Ashley, and one where her foot doesn’t hit the rope in her elimination with Nicole that puts her in the Invasion final. She’s proven to be scrappy and a smart competitor.
29 Brandon Nelson — 5 seasons, first season (Fresh Meat 2), 3–4 elimination record, Highest Finish: 4th to last eliminated on Cutthroat.
The King of the Gulag is a fan favorite in the Challenge world. Brandon was never the biggest or the loudest, but he always brought it. He’s most known for winning 3 eliminations on Cutthroat.
28 Nia Moore — 2 seasons, first season (Free Agents), 3–1 elimination record, Highest Finish: 4th Place DQ on Exes*
Many of the daily missions are tough for Nia due to her fear of heights and being a poor swimmer. She’s an elite female in eliminations, taking advantage of her size. She was well on her way to 4 elimination wins on Exes 2 and a 2nd place final finish.
27 Mitch Reid — 1 season, 1 final, first season (Bloodlines), 1–0 elimination record, Highest Finish: 2nd Place on Battle of the Bloodlines
He may be the smartest guy in Challenge history. After graduating from UC Berkeley, Mitch joined his cousin Cory on Battle of the Bloodlines. While Cory viewed himself as a heavyweight, Mitch carried him throughout the end of the season, finishing every puzzle in record time. 2 daily challenge wins+ 1 elimination win + 2nd place in the final = a great rookie season.
26 Pete Conolly — 1 season, 1 final first season (Fresh Meat), 2–0 elimination record, Highest Finish: 3rd Place on Fresh Meat 2
Another one season wonder. Pete did not show too much during the Fresh Meat combine besides his good looks. Once the game began, he killed it with Jillian. They were a main target in the house and aligned with Kenny in destroying Wes’s alliance. He was also part of being the first team to send Darrell home via elimination on a Challenge.
25 Kim Alexander — 2 seasons, first season (the Duel 2), 3–2 elimination record, Highest Finish: second to last eliminated on the Ruins
She was know as a feminine beauty from her Real World season, and came onto to the Challenge to show a competitive side that she did not know she had. Kim shocked people by beating Robin in the second Duel of Duel 2, then shocked them even more by defeating Ruthie, the Battle of the Sexes legend! Her greatest elimination may have been her bloody battle with Susie in the Ruins that she may have lost, but deserved respect for.
24 Svetlana Shusterman — 1 season, 1 final, first season (the Duel 1), 3–0 elimination record, Highest Finish: 2nd Place on the Duel 1
Svetlana’s Duel performance required a ton of luck for it to play out the way it did. Regardless, she finished 2nd place in an individual season, and showed to be a great swimmer.
23 Nicole Zanatta — 1 season, 1 final, first season (Invasion), 1–0 elimination record, Highest Finish: 3rd Place on Invasion of the Champions
It’s weird to say that Nicole’s first season of the Challenge was a disappointment when she made the final and finished in 3rd Place. Expectations were so high for the physical beast that some were disappointed to watch her come out last in the final. We still hope she comes for season 31 to smash heads.
22 Marlon Williams — 1 season, 1 final, first season (Rivals 2), 2–0 elimination record, Highest Finish: 3rd Place on Rivals 2
Unlike Svetlana’s performance, Marlon’s did not require luck. In a stacked male cast, Marlon joined up with Jordan to kill the competition and make the final on their rookie season. Here’s a link to their elimination with Ty/LeRoy, giving them respect from fans and competitors alike.
Instagram post by The Challenge Eliminations * Jul 31, 2017 at 7:41pm UTC
60 Likes, 16 Comments - The Challenge Eliminations (@thechallengeeliminations) on Instagram: "⠀⠀ Jordan & Marlon vs. Ty…
21 Nelson Thomas — 2 seasons, 1 final, first season (Rivals 3), 4–1 elimination record, Highest Finish: 2nd Place on Invasion of the Champions
Our boy Nelly T has put up some stats on us. Nelson has quietly racked up 4 elimination wins and only has one loss. He was the big winner of the Underdog bloodbath on Invasion. Nelson gets the honorable mention of being 2 minutes away from becoming a Challenge champion on his first legitimate season.
20 Ty Ruff — 4 seasons, 1 final, first season (Cutthroat), 4–3 elimination record, Highest Finish: 3rd Place on Exes 1
This may be overrating Ty. He’s shown many times to be a flop, and other times has shown up big under pressure. While Emily carried him on Exes 1, he still had to knock out Abram, a Challenge legend, and champion Dunbar. He was an inch away from beating Jordan/Marlon with LeRoy in Hall Pass, which would have put them in the final as all they had to do was beat Knight/Preston in elimination.
19 Cory Wharton — 3 season, 2 finals, first season (Bloodlines), 2–1 elimination record, Highest Finish: 2nd Place on Battle of the Bloodlines
His performance on the Invasion final was embarrassing, almost Big Easy level. Even worse is that he blames it on his partners, and at the end he tells TJ that he is glad he didn’t quit. Cory talked all season about winning, then when it mattered…finishing was the goal? Doesn’t matter, Cory has still made it to two finals and has proven to be great at daily missions. He won 8 straight daily challenges on Battle of the Bloodlines (a possible record?), and finished second on his first Challenge.
18 Mandi Moyer — 4 seasons, 1 final, first season (Fresh Meat 2), 1–3 elimination record, Highest Finish: 3rd Place on Rivals 1
Fresh Meat 2 did us well by bringing in Laurel, Cara Maria, Theresa, and Mandi. There’s a completely wrong misconception that Mandi was Casey 2.0. Mandi was a solid competitor who lost two eliminations due to Wes, and her only true loss was against Cara Maria. Not the best, not the worst. Strongly in the middle.
17 Brittini Sherrod — 1 season, 1 final, first season (the Duel 2), 2–0 elimination record, Highest Finish: 2nd Place on the Duel 2
When we talk about people who only did one season that you wish did more, Brittni is a common name. She won 3 daily mission, won 2 eliminations, and put up a great fight against Rachel in the final of the Duel 2. Easy pick.
16 Robin Hibbard — 9 seasons, 3 finals, first season (Battle of the Sexes), 1–5 elimination record, Highest Finish: lost the final of the Gauntlet 3, Gauntlet 2, and the Island
This is somewhat a lifetime achievement award. Robin embodied what the Challenge was from the party, drama, and hookup standpoint. She had solid performances on her two Gauntlets and surprisingly brought it on Exes 1 with Mark Long. Robin loves Mark, but she’s definitely not happy that Mark probably made a deal with Bananas.
15 Adam King — 6 seasons, 1 final, first season (Battle of the Sexes 2), 2–3 elimination record, Highest Finish: lost the final of the Gauntlet 3
Two victims of Big Easy from the Gauntlet 3 in a row. He was never a dominant athlete, yet it is surprising he never won in the big team era. Adam is an asset for a big team. A small fast dude who is a spider monkey that went to Stanford is an asset for the teams that are more brawn. Adam is who you want in a final, and who you want doing your puzzles.
14 Jonna Mannion — 5 seasons, first season (Rivals 1), 2–5 elimination record, Highest Finish: 4th Place on Rivals 1 and Battle of the Seasons
She may be the greatest female competitor to never make a final. What was Jonna’s weakness? Being too emotional? Being too affectionate? She really was a well-rounded player as a competitor, despite her small stature and nobody expecting much of her. She was never an easy out, and it sucks that she always found herself in the middle. Her losses have come only against great competitors too!
13 Johnny Reilly — 3 seasons, first season (Free Agents), 3–2 elimination record, Highest Finish: 2nd Place on Free Agents
He may have needed some kill card luck in order to make it to the final on Free Agents, but Reilly came to compete on Free Agents. He was part of 4 daily challenge wins, and won the only physical daily challenge where they competed as individuals. Reilly was minutes away from beating Bananas on his first ever final. Reilly won 3 elimination between Exes 2 and Rivals 3 with two partners who were not his favorites.
12 KellyAnne Judd — 4 seasons, 1 final, first season (the Island), 4–2 elimination record, Highest Finish: lost the final of the Ruins
Does KellyAnne end up on bad seasons or are seasons bad because KellyAnne is on them? Definitely the former. The famous Challenge “hot girl” proved to be an incredible physical competitor. She defeated Rachel Robinson in a face off on the Island, beat Veronica in the Ruins, and beat Nany in the Pit on Bloodlines. If KellyAnne had come back after the Ruins, it would be easier to figure out her place in Challenge history.
11 Jenna Compono — 4 seasons, 3 finals, first season (Exes 2), 5–0 elimination record, Highest Finish: 2nd Place on Rivals 3
How does someone who has made 3 finals and has a perfect elimination record get placed only 11th? Jenna benefited her first season from being the “lay-up” team, and was helped a ton by the weak casts that were Bloodlines and Rivals 3. The first season with some difficulty against people who had never won, she finished 4th out of the Underdogs. Jenna is the best of the middle tier.
10 Heather Cooke — 1 season, 1 final, first season (Rivals 2), 2–0 elimination record, Highest Finish: 2nd Place on Rivals 2
This is the highest that any 1 timer will rank. On Cooke’s one season she showed what a “pro” athlete can do on the show. During the Rampage mission of Rivals 2 (the one with the Ramps and Balls), Cooke went toe to toe with Emily Schromm (verified challenge beast). She had a replacement partner and was still able to make the final, where her and Cara led the way until the eating portion.
9 Aneesa Ferreira — 11 seasons, 2 finals, first season (Battle of the Sexes), 8–7 elimination record, Highest Finish: 3rd Place on the Duel 2/Lost the final of Gauntlet 2
Another lifetime achievement award. Aneesa was once the all time record holder in elimination wins, and is famous for having won 3 eliminations in a season…TWICE. Nobody else has ever done that, not Cara Maria, not Wes, and not Laurel. She has never won, and she’s never been a bottom tier player. People have often used Aneesa as the shot they use to take out someone they are afraid of.
8 Nany Gonzalez — 6 seasons, 1 final, first season (Battle of the Seasons) 3–6 elimination record, Highest Finish: 2nd Place on Free Agents
She was so close on Free Agents. Like Reilly and Nelson, Nany was minutes from winning the Free Agents final and shocking the world. Nany’s regard within the Challenge universe was very high among her fellow competitors. Many of the guys viewed Nany as someone who they would want to have as as their partner. Solid at everything and was ready to get physical. Her best chance to win was Seasons, unfortunately for her that Alton had other plans.
7 Jenn Grijalva — 6 seasons, 4 finals, first season (Inferno 3), 5–2 elimination record, Highest Finish: 3rd Place on Rivals 1?
Get ready for this piping hot take: Jenn is the better political version of Jenna Compono. They were both slightly above average competitors who found their ways consistently to the top. Jenna played under the radar, while Jenn uses her mouth loudly. Her last three seasons, she only saw 1 elimination all the while never winning daily challenges, and never being regarded as a lay-up. Top on that she’s won 5 out of 7 eliminations, Jenn isn’t as bad as people say.
6 Cohutta Grindstaff — 4 seasons, first season (the Island), 3–3 elimination record, Highest Finish: 6th Place on Free Agents
How has someone whose highest finish is 6th this high? Cohutta is a victim of his biggest strength: his size. People constantly underrate Cohutta. He was the first person to ever eliminate Wes, a man who had won 8 straight eliminations prior. Cohutta slayed a giant like Syrus, and ultimately lost to Darrell. Cohutta was on 3 bad seasons: the Ruins, the Island, and Bloodlines. The one good season with a stacked male cast (Free Agents), Cohutta showed out. He won the second challenge of the season with Laurel, and performed well even when his team lost. Cohutta was one of 3 people to grab the flag on rolling log during the first challenge of Free Agents, killed the Bar Crawl with Nany, one of the few to get across the ropes on Piggy Back, was top 4 in Sausage Party, and did better than LeRoy and Reilly in Dug Out.
I did this article months ago, and Cohutta was consistently picked by fans for their “Ultimate” teams. Mr. Congeniality.
Build Your Ultimate Challenge Team
I have decided to take some inspiration from some recent articles that have come out about trying to build your perfect…
5 Theresa Gonzalez — 6 seasons, 1 final, first season (Fresh Meat 2), 2–6 elimination record, Highest Finish: 2nd Place on Exes 2
When you talk about bad partners and bad luck, Theresa’s name comes up. She got saddled with Ryan Kehoe on Fresh Meat 2, had Jasmine as her Rivals 2 partner, and in other season has gotten a raw draw. Her and Camila (arguably the 3rd best team on paper) were forced to face Laurel and Cara in elimination. On Cutthroat she had to deal with “Heavy Hitter” twist that rewarded Tori so much. During Free Agents she finally got to play her game and missed out on the final due to a bad kill card. A lame Exile twist ruined the game of her and Wes that they were on track to win.
Theresa is an elite female swimmer, has incredible cardio, and can do puzzles. Her versus Laurel in the Free Agents final is a great “What if?”
4 Shane Landrum — 5 seasons, first season (Battle of the Sexes), 1–3 elimination record, Highest Finish: 5th Place on Invasion of the Champions and Battle of the Sexes
Another person who has never made a final. Shane was arguably the best player on Invasion from a “complete” standpoint, when you add in social game, political game, competing in the daily challenges, and being asset to his team. Take this stat for what is worth, in 5 seasons of the Challenge, Shane has been on 64 episode, meaning he’s on an average of 12 episodes a season, and always is there for most of the ride.
If he does another, let’s pray he finally makes it to a final.
3 Ruthie Alcaide — 4 seasons, 1 final, first season (Battle of the Sexes), 1–2 elimination record, Highest Finish: lost the final of Battle of the Sexes 1
Ruthie’s prime was before my time. She is still remembered by fans of MTV from the early 2000’s of her performance on Battle of the Sexes where she outperformed many of the males. People always throw around Ruthie’s name whenever a new season begins casting for who they hope is on. If your biggest moment was 24–25 seasons ago and people are still talking about you, you did something great.
2 Diem Brown — 8 seasons, 2 finals, first season (Fresh Meat 1), 1–5 elimination record, Highest Finish: 2nd Place on Exes 1 and lost the Gauntlet 3 final
Knowing how much Diem loved the game and loved the show, this hurts. Diem was another victim of Big Easy, and her other final was with CT on Exes where he died atop an icy mountain. She only made two finals, but Diem was eliminated four times on the elimination before the final: Fresh Meat 1, Duel 1, Duel 2, and Rivals 2. That is a real gut punch.
1 LeRoy Garrett — 7 seasons, 2 finals, first season (Rivals 1), 7–3 elimination record, Highest Finish: 2nd Place on Exes 2
There are a lot of reasons why LeRoy has not won on a Challenge. He can’t swim, he can’t do puzzles, and his muscle endurance is not the best. Those setbacks have not stopped other great competitors. Had LeRoy been born into the team Challenge, he would definitely have a win by now. Just in terms of clout, LeRoy leads the pack of people who have never won. Whenever people rattle off who they think the best players are, LeRoy shows up despite never winning.
LeRoy’s had more moments when he’s physically dominated people than people who have won 1–2 titles each. It took Brad a total of 8 attempts, it took CT 9 attempts, Cara Maria-Sarah-Paula all took 8. With Dirty 30, maybe LeRoy can finally do it.