Challenge Retrospective: Fresh Meat 1 Awards
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. Thus, I have decided to look back on many of the Challenge seasons of the modern era, beginning with Fresh Meat 1, and will be awarding competitors with certain titles.
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: Wes Bergmann Female: Coral Smith
We never see someone come in guns blazing into their first Challenge like Wes and actually be successful. He won 5 elimination(exiles) on the season, and even though his team got a weight advantage, 5 elimination wins in a row is insane, let alone 5 in one season! The only other person to win 5 eliminations in a season is Sarah Greyson on Gauntlet 1, which was some Voodoo shit. This was even more impressive when you consider that Casey carried nothing during most eliminations, and she could not run for a whole mile. It was his first Challenge fresh off of Real World Austin, and he defeated all 3 of his Real World cast-mates(including his girlfriend Johanna). He got into screaming matches with veterans, and despite having Casey Cooper as his partner, found his way to the final with a solid 3rd place finish. In an era dominated by vets, Wes was the first true rookie to earn his way to the final with the whole house against him.
Before her injury, Coral and Evan were dominating the season, winning almost every daily mission, and consistently killed it with her interviews and commentary. This was also the last good Coral, and possibly her best. I personally believe she would have lost the final, but most likely been there and finished in 2nd.
Rookie of the Year
Male: Wes Bergmann Female: Diem Brown
Read above for Wes. As for Diem, she was one of the first “Fresh Meat” competitors to ever stick out and become their own individual. Diem’s story has always been incredible, but from the grass roots it was so moving. Putting off her cancer treatment in order to compete on the Challenge shows Diem’s love for adventure, fun, and more than anything a challenge. Her and Derrick were such a sweet couple, they played as a team hellbent on winning, but had complete support of one another. It was heartbreaking to watch them lose the final elimination.
First Team All Challenge
Wes Bergmann, Coral Smith, Evan Starkman, Darrell Taylor, Derrick Kosinski
Evan should have been the Male MVP for the season, but his injuries took him out of the game way too early. He was funny, strong, and intelligent. Coral was good, but Evan was the one dominating the season. Coral knew she got the best guy from his Fresh Meat combine stats: “he outrun a black dude”. Darrell winning the season and taking out Derrick before the final Challenge was what put him on the first team. Derrick had a compelling relationship/friendship with his partner Diem, as he coached her through all the missions, and they were so close to making it to the final. We love CT/Diem, but in my heart, I kind of ship Derrick/Diem.
Second Team All Challenge
Diem Brown, Theo Von, Tina Barta, Kenny Santucci, Aviv Melmed
Aviv getting the win with Darrell sneaks her into the back of the second team, barely edging out Casey Cooper and Shane Landrum. Kenny was just a dumb pretty boy who flopped most of the season with Tina, but they won clutch eliminations and challenges getting them a second place finish in the final, and thus Mr. Beautiful was born. Tina always had great commentary, but there are often moments where she was a bit too into herself, and always making excuses/blaming others for her losing. Nonetheless, a second place finish in the Fresh Meat 2 final was a great finish by her, and her last solid season.
Theo Von makes second team for his hilarious commentary. His interviews were always on point, and a lost memory is him showing up to the reunion with a neck brace after Derrick “slit his throat”.
The Best Physical Players
Male: (Tie) Darrell and Evan Female: Coral Smith
Whenever Darrell’s back was up against the wall, he always seemed to turn on a switch and become the best competitor. When it was just for fun, he played it lazily as he knew he was not going to be thrown in. He won the Challenge where it was 1500 dollars cash up for grabs, and then won the lifesaver the only time he was thrown in with the opportunity for the lifesaver. Him and Aviv dominated the final, and he proved to be a pure beast by becoming the first 4 time Challenge champion.
While Evelyn, Chanda, and maybe Tonya were better athletes at the time, and better suited for the final, Coral & Evan simply dominated the game before Evan’s hernia. They were winning the dailies and the lifesavers.
Most Disappointing Players of the Season
Male: Theo Von Female: Evelyn Smith
I kept giving Evelyn a pass for being a rookie when trying to decide who was the most disappointing female competitor, but none of the other girls really stood out. Tonya maybe, but her teammate was just not cooperating with her. Looking back at the career, Evelyn went on to have, and how highly she talked about herself on the first episode, her losing to Casey and Wes, really hurt. They may have had more weight, but Ev probably looks back at that Challenge and hates that she lost.
After being a top competitor in some of the earlier days of the Challenge, Theo got flat out beat by Tina and Kenny in an elimination. What made it worse is that his partner Chanda, was arguably the best physical female competitor once Evelyn and Coral left. Theo flopped on a season where he should have won, and we never got to see him on a Challenge again.
Underdog of the Season: Wes Bergmann
On their Real World season, everyone thought of Wes as the lame frat boy who had no game. Danny was the hot guy that caught everyone’s attention, but Wes became the Challenge star and now all time great. He was at the most 5'10 or 5'11, more likely 5'8 or 5'9 at 170 lbs, and this dude went out and just killed the competition. Him making the final with Casey Cooper as his teammate is on the great achievements in sports history.