Challenge Invasion Preview: Laurel Stucky
Is Laurel the greatest female Challenge competitor ever? Some days I might say yes, other days I will say no. She is without a doubt in the top 3, as the top competitor title is jostled around between her, Emily Schromm, and Evelyn Smith. Emily is the best physical specimen to have ever appeared on the Challenge for a female, she is the Goddess of Cross fit, a challenge champion with an undefeated 5-0 elimination record and two additional 3rd place finishes in the final. Evelyn is the most cerebral and well-rounded player, incredibly intelligent and often would compete with the guys despite her small stature. She got a lot of flack for being upset after losing the Fresh Meat 2 exile against Landon. The reason she was upset was due to her teammate Luke being the worst guy by far, tiring out very easily, and she carried the heavier bag of weight!!! Seriously, has the ever been another female competitor who carried a man’s bag and was as seamless as Ev? She won 3 challenges: Inferno 3, The Island(bleh), and Rivals 1. She has two straight up losses in the Fresh Meats, but her teammates were Luke and Danny Jamieson, two of the worst guy competitors ever. She threw the game on the Ruins as she hated her team and the JEK alliance; I think it would have been an easy win for her, but she often sticks to her morales. On Gauntlet 3 she got hit by the curse of Big Easy. Ev was 5'3, took on guys, hooked up with hot girls, played her game, and left to go on to her degree and eventually go to Harvard Law.
Gun to my head, I am saying Ev is the greatest female challenge competitor, but if Laurel gets to the final, then she will probably be first, but definitely would be first if she wins. She also has the perfect elimination record to maintain, and if she gets one more elimination win then she will surpass Wes for the greatest elimination streak/start. Both of them started out their elimination career (8–0), but if Laurel can get the 9th then she can take the title of elimination queen from Cara Maria who currently has 11 elimination wins.
Laurel has often stated that she would only return to the Challenge in the case it was an individual game. She hated having to share money she felt she earned with Luke and Cara Maria on Cutthroat. A lot of competitors going in wanting to win, Laurel goes in with a winner’s mindset wanting to dominate. She is often not there to make friends, and commonly makes more enemies than she does friends. Her best friend from these shows is Cara Maria, except they are going through a rough patch so they are currently enemies. Laurel’s Fresh Meat 2 season is now pretty far removed from today crazy enough, and considering she somewhat shows up on these seasons intermittently, she has much less connections in the house than any of the other girls. That has never mattered for Laurel though, she often is able to just dominate the game so much that she either wins the daily challenges or will strike fear into the other competitors that they do not put her in to avoid her possibly getting revenge on them later.
Now here is my review of Laurel as a competitor:
Skills/Physical Strength: What is Laurel good at? Everything. She is a top 2 or 3 female swimmer, top 3 in upper body and strength, top 3 in puzzles, top 3 in cardio. What is her weakness? Confidence? Maybe… We saw on Rivals 1, that her and Cara got a little too confident on some daily challenges and got the automatic disqualification. Her biggest weakness this may be that for the first time she has girls that can possibly stack up and compete with her. On Fresh Meat 2, the only girl who could stack up was Evelyn and she had Luke as a partner. On Rivals 1, only Ev again, and she won the final that season. For Cutthroat she never saw Emily in an elimination, which we desperately needed. Free Agents there was about 2.5 girls that could compete, one being Cara who broke her hand, the other being Theresa as she is built to do well in a final(not eliminations), and the other being Nany depending on the type of final. This season there is a lot of quality girls: a better Cara Maria, a better Camila, rookie bodybuilder Nicole Z, underdog Jenna, and Cross Fit lover Ashley Kelsey. While these girls are definitely underdogs compared to Laurel, it’s a level of competition that she has never had around her. We have seen with all great competitors, sometimes it doesn’t matter who is better, you just slip up occasionally when facing good competition.
Mental Game/Politics: In Free Agents, Laurel had to play her most political game. By the middle of the game the girls decided to take shots at Laurel and thrown her in any chance they could get. On the first attempt they got spurned as Jasmine lost the draw and had to face Laurel, which is essentially taking out a gun and shooting a blank. From there on they moved back and did not take any more shots in order to avoid the wrath of Laurel. She has won many puzzles, and in the final is often the person on her team doing the puzzle. A smart girl, Laurel can beat many of the other girls not just physically. Without a puzzle ringer on this season, she might be the smartest girl on this season of the Challenge. According to Instagram, she is dating Nicole Zenatta, the bodybuilding rookie from Real World Skeletons. They are probably 2 of the 3 strongest girls in the house, so having each others backs will put them far in the game.
Eliminations: On Fresh Meat 1, her and Kenny took out Sarah and Vinny in the second exile. Then on Cutthroat, she took out rookie bulldog Camila(who had already won 2 gulags). Rivals 1 was where her and Cara took out a solid team in Theresa and Camila, and obliterated tiny rookies Jonna and Jasmine. In Free Agents she won 4 eliminations in route to her title, she played against Jasmine with kid gloves in Balls In, smashed Aneesa in Oppenheimer, faced a broken handed Cara Maria in the Wall Climb, and in a puzzle showdown took out Theresa. She has won every type of elimination from endurance, to speed, to skill, brute strength, and intelligence. She is very good at the Challenge.
Final Potential/Endurance: Laurel has never finished worse than second in a final, and in most of them since Fresh Meat 2, she has gotten mad at her teammate holding her back more than anything. On Cutthroat she had to deal with two heat stroked teammates, an illiterate Luke, and Cara was the only other decent one in the final despite Laurel giving her shit all season that she was dead-weight. Irony is great. Rivals 1, her and Cara pushed themselves and just were not as good as Evelyn and Paula as a team. For Free Agents, Zach almost died scaling the mountain and could have crushed her chances of winning if he had decided to quit. Laurel is the favorite this season, and it makes sense. Let’s see how she does!
Final Score: 99/100