The 10 Greatest Co-Ed Pairs in Challenge History

Allan Aguirre
8 min readJul 24, 2018


Before we begin the list, here are some honorable mention teams:
Cara Maria Sorbello & Jamie Banks (Bloodlines)
Derrick Kosinski & Diem Brown (Fresh Meat 1)
Emily Schromm & Ty Ruff (Exes 1)
Peter Conolly & Jill Zoboroski (Fresh Meat 2)

Let’s get down to business.

10 Leroy Garrett & Nia Moore — Battle of the Exes 2

This team was terrible at two things: swimming and heights. Both can prevent a team from winning or cause last placement in a daily challenge. Leroy and Nia placed last multiple times on Exes 2, but they were quickly one of the scariest teams in Challenge history due to their size and strength. Leroy is an absolute monster who has devoured champions in physical eliminations, while Nia is a legitimate 6' tall girl who can step on most girls. Even though Nia had flaws, she had moments where her size allowed her to complete particular challenges with ease. This team is almost a lock for the final, considering nobody wants to face them in an elimination.

9 Landon Lueck & Carley Johnson — Fresh Meat 2

The ranking is a bit low for two Challenge Champions. Landon’s performance on Fresh Meat 2 might be the greatest individual performance in a season, considering he carried Carley (the last overall female pick in the Fresh Meat draft) to a win. Landon was able to beat some of the greatest competitors in Challenge history on Fresh meat 2, so shouldn’t they be the number one? Well, Fresh Meat 2 was the one format in which this team could have won. The eliminations on Fresh Meat were mini-finals in the form of exiles. All you had to do was run, carry weight, and do puzzles. Landon did all the puzzles and carried a decent amount of Carley’s weight, meaning Carley only had to run. And when she could not run, Landon pushed her forward. In any other elimination type format, Landon and Carley would go out around the midway point.

8 Darrell Taylor & Aviv Melmed — Fresh Meat 1

Landon is a better player in the Challenges than Darrell. The difference between the teams and why this pair is ahead is because Aviv is a puzzle master. Aviv’s ability to finish puzzles was why this team beat the other teams in the Fresh Meat final by an hour. She can’t speak English that well, but she can run and do puzzles, which is a massive upgrade over Carley. I also read somewhere that was she in the Israeli air force.

7 Chris Tamburello & Diem Brown — Exes 1

CT is better than Darrell at most challenges and eliminations, and Diem is better than Aviv at almost everything. While CT takes a lot of shit for dying during the final climb up the mountain, he carried Diem through most of the season and the events in the final. At high altitude, CT’s body could not hold up. It did not help that he came into the season out of shape. Rewatch the season, CT comes in half ripped/half dad bod. The difference-maker between this team and the next six is Diem cannot compete with the elite females.

6 Sarah Rice & Johnny Bananas — Rivals 3

This team dominated the season they were on. Bananas and Sarah won 4/9 daily challenges, finished second in two of them, and won an elimination they were thrown into via a random skull draw before the final. Their final win was never in question; the only issue was the steal or share twist. Sarah could be the best female swimmer in Challenge history, is a puzzle savant, has no fears, and holds a 5'7 frame to compete one on one with anyone physically. Bananas has the most wins in Challenge history and is an all-around player. Why are they not higher? Rivals 3 circumstances inflated their performance. The second-best team on Rivals 3 was a tired, out-of-shape Wes with a burned-out Nany. It was like the New England Patriots playing against a bunch of college football teams.

5 Wes Bergmann & Theresa Gonzalez — Exes 2

You will see a good amount of Exes 2 love on this list, mostly because the challenges themselves tested the teams, and the roster itself was pretty intense. Wes and Theresa won three out of eight daily challenges on Exes 2 and finished second in the other three. Their chemistry was off the charts. Wes was past his prime athletically, yet his ability to compete in challenges by figuring out the right strategy for him and Theresa gave them a significant edge. Politically he played one of the all-time greatest games. Theresa put up an MVP performance physically and carried the slack a male competitor usually does in these partnerships. Watching Wes function as the physical sidekick was a significant change of pace and made their team great. Unfortunately, they lost due to an untimely exile twist and an elimination they were never going to win.

4 Coral Smith & Evan Starkman — Fresh Meat 1

Maybe I am putting them too low; maybe I am putting them too high. Coral was a Challenge beast that never missed a final, and Evan was the first pick of the Fresh Meat (for the males). Together, they won 5 of the first 6 challenges of the season (the one they lost was a lifesaver challenge they threw). Then injuries took its toll — Evan sustained a hernia. He got advised to drop out and get surgery; he chose to keep his injury a secret from Coral. Their performance in the challenges dropped from the top to the upper middle of the pack. The team got forced to quit after Coral’s knee dislocated. It is the ultimate “what if?” team because they completely wrecked a field of good teams when they were healthy and only disqualified due to injuries.

3 Johnny Bananas & Camila Nakagawa — Exes 1

Camila and Johnny had one major thing in common: they both loved Johnny. They worked well together from the jump. Her admiration for Johnny allowed her to put her ego aside and listen to his directions. Camila is a beast whose emotions and temper sometimes get the best of her. When working with Johnny, she let him lead and simply acted as an athlete. Her skill-set is one of the greatest in Challenge history. Camila is a natural runner who has never given up in a run; she can do puzzles, is excellent with heights, a strong swimmer, and is willing to get dirty. Her only weakness is her height, though she has been able to beat larger competitors. Bananas was in his best shape during Exes 1 and had his best performance (at that point) in the challenges. They also defeated two strong teams in one of the most intense finals in Challenge history.

2 Jordan Wiseley & Sarah Rice — Exes 2

Jordan and Sarah are the Challenge wonder twins. They are both cocky, intelligent, and have a crazy desire to win. What puts them above the rest is their hunger to win. Sarah was in better shape on Exes 2 than she was on Rivals 3, and Jordan is one of the most exceptional Challenge talents who needed to prove himself after his Free Agents debacle. They were elite swimmers, elite puzzle solvers, could eat anything, had solid cardio (Sarah’s cardio was not bad, just not elite), strong with heights, and could win carnival games. Sarah’s ability to maneuver through the game socially and politically was their biggest strength. She made the final in 5 out of 7 seasons she legitimately played (she was disqualified twice due to teammates). This team won a final, can win challenges, and can win eliminations.

1 Kenny Santucci & Laurel Stucky — Fresh Meat 2

1 Kenny Santucci & Laurel Stucky — Fresh Meat 2

It should get noted that while Kenny Santucci may be one of the all-time greatest challenge competitors, he is mostly overrated as a physical threat. He was middling in daily challenges for most of his career and only won team seasons. On Fresh Meat 2, he was placed into Exile and got forced to win every week to obtain safety in the game. He and Laurel did just that. Laurel was the ultimate game-changer. Laurel is the LeBron James of the Challenge. She is a physically imposing and unstoppable force who always gives your team a chance to win simply due to the fact she is LeBron James. The team was able to win 5 out of 9 challenges and 1 elimination, completely demolishing Wes/Evelyn’s alliance by winning four out of the first five challenges. Sidenote: they threw a challenge to their friends Pete and Jillian to give them a day off from exile.

The idea the Laurel completely gassed out during the Fresh Meat 2 final is a bit exaggerated and mostly false. Almost any Challenge competitor would have struggled in the uphill icy mountain climb, especially for their first final. Only Landon had the gas to literally push another person up the mountain the way he did. Most seasons, Laurel and Kenny dominate the challenges, win any elimination (remember, the two are a combined 14–2 in eliminations), and take their friends to the final.



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.