Challenge Retrospective: Battle of the Seasons Awards

Allan Aguirre
10 min readJun 4, 2017

While we have the objective history of the Challenge in the wikias, and the show intact to look back on to see how great the olden days were, we are missing some big things: AWARDS. As a major basketball fan, my friends and I spend hours on discussing who the league MVP is, who the rookie of the year is, and who are the top players per position are. I began with Fresh Meat 1, and now done the Duel 1,Inferno 3, Gauntlet 3, the Island, the Duel 2, the Ruins, Fresh Meat 2, Cutthroat, Rivals 1, Exes 1, and now Battle of the Seawons. If you want links to them, they’ll be at the bottom of this article.

The title of this season is often confused. Many people call this Battle of the Seasons, many call it Battle of the Seasons 2, I call it Battle of the Season 2012 to be safe. The reason being is that back during Road Rules vs Real World days, there was another Battle of the Seasons where it was the two shows as a whole against each other, where there were also pairs of people from the same season.

This Battle of the Seasons is not affiliated with that season and is its own entity, thus leading to a lot of confusion. This season was marred and maligned for its rookie cast. I enjoyed it as it allowed a lot of people who were not used to being alphas time to shine, as well as developed future stars for the show.

The season could have been great in theory, 4 person Co-Ed teams, fun team challenges, and a set of 4 eliminations. It all made sense and should have made for a great season. Casting ultimately made this a bad season, as they went for bad casting choices, choosing now over old most of the time.

Examples: there was supposed to be a RW Sydney team of Isaac, Dunbar, KellyAnne and Ashli, they were sent home, some believe due to drugs, and it is unknown to this day. They were replaced by a Fresh Meat team last minute of people who had nothing going on in their lives and could get on a plane immediately.

Danny was picked over Nehemiah.

A Las Vegas team was supposed to consist of LeRoy, Dustin, Cooke, and Nany, but Heather did not want Dustin to be there with Cooke.

Key West was not able to get a second girl to compete with Johnny, Tyler, and Paula.

A pregnancy kept a DC team from happening.

Trey and Laura were picked over Swift and LaToya.

There was supposed to be a Road Rules team of Darrell, Rachel R, Derrick K, and Katie.

The Rules: I will be giving out an MVP award for both male and female competitors on the season. MVP does not just go out to the pair that won the season, but the individual competitor who brought the most to the show: physically, socially, mentally, entertainment wise, hook ups, arguments, circumstances, etc. I will be naming First Team All Challenge, and Second Team All Challenge. These will be 5 person lineups consisting of the best/most important competitors from that season using the MVP criteria, and it can be 5 guys and 0 girls, or 5 girls and 0 guys, or just 3 guys and 2 girls. It will consist of 5 competitors regardless of gender.

Rookie of the Year awards will be given to both genders, and I will also be giving awards out for Most Disappointing Players of the Season(both genders), Top Physical Competitors, and Underdog of the Season. Here we go:


Male: Frank Sweeney Female: Sarah Rice
Entering the Challenge house as a rookie is usually about coming in with your head down, being likable, paying your dues, and competing well in the missions. That is the general blueprint for success. It was not for Frank Sweeney. Frank saw the pure amount of rookies and new players entering the game, forcing his hand to become the ringleader of the house’s big alliance. He got his team (San Diego), RW Cancun, RW New Orleans, and then parts of RW Las Vegas and RW St. Thomas to play with them.

It more than worked out. Their “alliance” won the first 6 eliminations, and they sent home two of the eight teams in the house, meaning by episode 5, their alliance consisted of 5/6 of the house. Frank’s San Diego team excelled, winning 4/11 daily missions, and of course, finishing first in the final.

Frank made a splash on the season, going psycho a few times, avoiding elimination, feuding with his own team, winning the final elimination, all while running the game and winning the game. Not a lot of rookie seasons quite like this.

Sarah Rice was a gem on a bad season. One of the few true veterans on this season. She had a weak Brooklyn team, where Chet was far and away the second best member on the four person team. Not a good sign when you are trying to win. Their team should have been dead in the water. They went to 3 straight eliminations where Chet and Sarah were able to take out Cara Maria/Brandon and Preston/Mackenzie, Big Easy quit in the other elimination where he faced his beau, Devyn. After being taken to a bunch of eliminations, they won 2 missions in a row, sending San Diego to two straight eliminations, basically ending the season of Cancun.

Out of all the girls on Seasons, Sarah was the flat out best. The other potential competitors left early: Camila and Cara Maria (who she eliminated). Other good competitors were overvalued and did not make the final: Jonna, Marie, Nany. Being able to make the final and do well with this team is an incredible achievement by Sarah. She also hooked up with Alton, which is a major win for anyone.

Rookie of the Year

Male: Frank Sweeney Female: Nany Gonzalez
She was such a polarizing figure on her season of the Real World. It was a shame that she had to wait to appear on a Challenge, after the entire original RW Vegas cast all appeared on the show. Blame Adam Royer, him and Nany were supposed to be a couple on Battle of the Exes, but he did not pass a psychological test. He stripped us from Nany time.

Re-watching RW Las Vegas and Seasons, it is jarring to see how young Nany looked then. The smoking and drinking has aged her quite a bit, she still looks fine as hell. She looked like a girl early on, and quickly became a woman. Her first season of the Challenge, she was still an athlete from her dancing and running days, and competed well in Challenges. Her and Dustin defeated Trey/Laura in Knot So Fast, and made the bad choice of volunteering for elimination with Alton, knowing that it should be Trishelle and that Alton could be throwing it. What happened? It visibly looked like Alton was throwing the elimination, and Nany killed it. They almost won due to Nany. Alton wanted to leave, but he stripped Nany of her best chance to ever win a Challenge.

First Team All Challenge

Frank Sweeney, Sarah Rice, Zach Nichols, CJ Koegel, Dustin Zito
Zach came into his first Challenge after all the hype and acted as a big player. He was the muscle to Frank’s brain. The way they treated Sam was incredibly disrespectful and unapologetic. As a physical competitor, they killed it, and he killed it. Zach won 2 eliminations, beating CJ and his bestie, Knight. Getting the win your first season is something to be proud of.

CJ has only ever done two seasons ever, never made a final, yet his name still comes up weekly in Challenge social groups. After a Fresh Meat 2 performance where he got done dirty by Wes, CJ’s main goal for BOTS was to send Wes home, which after winning the first Challenge, he sent him in, leading to his earliest exit ever. This man played the game clean, was a leader for his team, dominated physically, and beat Zach in the initial Hall Brawl round 2–0, and technically beat him 3–2 overall. Great smile too.

Two elimination wins, second place finish in the final, and asking someone if “they want to get street, bitch! (smacks wrists vigorously)”. This Dustin was on pace to become a Challenge legend. Too bad he couldn’t keep up this heat. Watching him deal with Trishelle was hilarious. He bemoaned to Alton during his elimination break, pleading “don’t leave me with her”.

Second Team All Challenge

Nany Gonzalez, Jonna Mannion, Chet Cannon, Ryan Knight, Marie Roda
Jonna had a good performance on Battle of the Seasons. She has often done well with a strong partner, which is why Nany and her struggled on Rivals 2, they need someone directing them. On Seasons, she finally had a kind and strong leader in CJ. She hooked up with Zach and they began dating on and off the show. Had she chosen to go into the Hall Brawl elimination instead of Jasmine, maybe the season goes way differently, and she ends up the MVP of this season and on the First Team. Still a great season from her.

While I found Chet annoying, he did win 2 eliminations and was the male leader of the Brooklyn team. He continually pushed Devyn during the final and wanted to win. For a person seen as a weak guy, it was nice to see him actually competing.

It took a couple seasons after their Real World for New Orleans to get on the Challenge. While Knight was far from a good physical player, he was a hilarious and crazy house presence. He and Jemmye were dealing with their dysfunctional post break-up relationship where he is trying to win her back. He also had the famous scene where he threw Nany’s suitcase in the pool, in the fashion of Tonya.

Marie Roda was a legend on this season. Drinking more than a horse, pushing Sam into a ficus, and knocking out Cara Maria in oil wrestling.

Best Physical Players

Male: CJ Koegel Female: Sarah Rice
I was debating between 3 people for the male slot. Zach did not have the endurance and swimming skill of Frank, while Frank did not have Zach’s size and strength. CJ was the perfect medium of the two, who showed to be adept at multiple facets of the Challenge game.

The girl award felt weird to reward. Sarah has good size, and is a top tier swimmer. Only in a weaker season would she ever win this award.

Most Disappointing Players

Male: Wes Bergmann Male: Big Easy
Wes being the only true power player on this season should have made it easy for him? It’s hard to tell, the overwhelming amount of rookies made it tough for him to win, his team was one of the worst you could ever have. Danny & Melinda are two of the worst competitors in the history of the show, and Lacey was making her first appearance, 7 years after her RW season premiered. He had no chance, especially against Big Easy in Hall Brawl where Easy had close to 80 lbs on him.

None of the girls really did disappointing. Cara and Camila may have left early and that is disappointing as they should have been a power female pair. They loss because Big Easy failed them every damn time.



Allan Aguirre

27 years old. I blog about MTV's the Challenge and will dabble into other subjects occasionally. Follow me on Twitter for the occasional bad joke.