Top 11 One-time Challenge Champions
It’s been a while since I have written an article. I’ve been dealing with some illness, moving apartments, and figuring out the all-time team fantasy competition (along with the busy holiday time)! It’s almost done though! In this article, I ranked the elevent greatest one-time Challenge Champions. Why? Because I’ve never done it before, and also I realized a last second omission of a person who totally deserved to be on the list, so it’s 11 instead of 10. Enjoy.
11th Kina Dean
Shout-out to Kina for making the top ten! People poke fun at her performance on Duel 1, in which she cried during her elimination against Svetlana, however, Kina deserves credit for captaining the rookie team on Gauntlet 2 for the entire season (except for the one day Jo was there). Kina eliminated two challenge champions (Jill and Cara Z) in order to make the Gauntlet 2 final and get her sole win. Kina also made it halfway on Duel 1 and performed adequately throughout the season. Fun fact: she’s actually two years younger than Johnny Bananas!
10th Frank Roessler
After a decent run on Battle of the Sexes 2, Frank Roessler reappeared out of the blue a few years later to compete on the Gauntlet 3. Frank was one of the few shining stars on an awful Rookie team. He had to endure three eliminations to make the final — defeating champions Tyler and MJ in the process. While he can thank the finals death of Big Easy for his win, Frank was one of the few deserving champions on the slog that was Gauntlet 3. He never returned but seems to be doing great based on the website for his investment firm.
Frank Roessler founded and oversees all aspects of Ashcroft Capital. Previous to forming Ashcroft, Frank compiled over…
9th Brad Fiorenza
This may seem like a sleight considering Brad is a Challenge legend — he was the runner-up of both Duel 1 and Duel 2, he has also eliminated Challenge legends like CT and Landon in the past. While Brad has made it to an impressive amount of finals (four), and has six elimination wins, he lacks a great win. His win on Cutthroat was due to his team riding Brandon and Tyler through the Gulags for six eliminations and he was gifted a heat exhausted/concussed version of Abram on the Grey Team’s in the final. There may be some recency bias here, considering Brad’s performance on Final Reckoning was a bit ugly. He lost three “eliminations” straight, had some bad moments of entitlement, and lacked mental ability in both 3D puzzles and maths. However, realistically, you could switch Brad with any of the next few people on the list, he was as high as three during the drafting process.
8th Jillian Zoboroski
Another case of quality over quantity. Jill only did three seasons and is nowhere near the most famous. However, Jill was a beast in all of her seasons. She won the Gauntlet 3, made the final in Fresh Meat 2, and lost the final elimination of the Gauntlet 2 (to Kina). Her elimination record is an impressive 5–1 where she holds a consecutive five win streak. Jill’s peak moment is her elimination against Darrell and Cara Maria with her partner Pete on Fresh Meat 2. They defeated two of the greatest competitors in Challenge history in the first elimination of the season. Mad props to Jill.
7th Zach Nichols
It was difficult to place Zach on this list. For all intents and purposes, Zach is essentially a two-time Champion, considering he was the first place male finisher in Vendettas. Unfortunately, they only had one sole winner for the entire season and thus he remains a one-time Champion and three-time finalist. He is easily one of the top competitors in Challenge history when it comes to daily challenges, Team San Diego was the best team on Battle of the Seasons 2, he was a beast on Free Agents, he was at the top of the dailies in his brief stint with Trey on Rivals 2, found himself in a decent amount of Troikas on Vendettas, and won half the dailies he competed in on Final Reckoning, with Amanda. Zach ranks this low because he has a poor elimination record of 3–4 and for the fact that he finds extraordinary ways to lose.
6th Hunter Barfield
Ranking Hunter as high as fifth may surprise some of you considering how new he is to the Challenge still. There’s also the fact that some people forget he is a Champion because he did not win any money, but Hunter has established himself as a dominant physical force in the Challenge. On Invasion, Hunter was the top underdog in daily challenges from a physical standpoint. When the other underdogs floundered, Hunter was doing just as well as the Champs, if not better. He followed it up by taking on the entire house on Dirty 30, consistently winning daily challenges, winning two eliminations, winning a Redemption, and even winning a Purge with a broken hand. His injury forced him to miss Vendettas, but he made up for it by finally becoming a Champion on Final Reckoning. He is poised to win a second title soon based on his track record.
5th Frank Sweeney
In three seasons on the Challenge, Frank Sweeney has never been eliminated. Frank led the rookie alliance on Battle of the Seasons 2 and was key to his team’s victory in the end. On Rivals 2, he killed the daily challenges alongside Johnny Bananas (often beating Johnny in the more physical challenges). They finished in second place, losing to Wes and CT. Despite being sick on Free Agents, he won two eliminations before being forced home due to illness. More than anything, Frank Sweeney is one of the only gay men in Challenge history to control the game and make moves. In a game where the gay men are usually thrown in early due to perceived weakness, Frank made moves and had a definite impact on the show.
4th Coral Smith
Coral started her Challenge career by making four consecutive finals, winning one season, and then having her best season on Fresh Meat where her and Evan completely dominated the game until injuries derailed them and ultimately had them removed from the game. Coral was the HBIC of the Challenge, keeping our attention with her boss attitude and her sense of humor. Maybe Coral was too much of a personality for people to realize how good of a competitor she was, and at the time same time, her personality was a major reason she always made the final. Nobody in the house wanted to test Coral because she could take them down in a verbal altercation. This Fresh Meat 1 aftershow with her is my favorite clip in Challenge history.
3rd Emily Schromm
Easily the most fit woman in Challenge history, Emily Schromm has an impressive 5–0 elimination record, went three straight seasons without being eliminated, making two finals and winning Rivals 2 in dominating fashion, with Paula Meronek. The pair won over 50% of the daily challenges together and won almost every challenge that involved physicality. She has eliminated multi-time Champions Paula and Cara Maria with ease, yet, she is only third on this list, which is more of a testament to the next two competitors. Emily is strong enough that she could come back at any moment and get off this list by winning her second title.
2nd Alton Williams
I switched Alton and Emily between 2 and 3 at least a million times. Eh, maybe exaggerating. At the end of the day, it is apples and oranges. Alton was the man. Nobody in Challenge history has ever been as dominating as Alton was on Gauntlet 2. Alton allowed Adam King to pick their elimination to give him a fair shot, chose not to bully Danny Dias in their elimination, and led his Rookie Team to an overall victory for the season. During the era of team challenges it was sometimes difficult for individuals to truly stand out, Alton not only stood out, but he soared high above his teammates. He had a rivalry with Abram and, in the first elimination of Inferno 3, he volunteered to go into elimination for Davis, while Abram had the option to replace Tyrie in elimination and chose not to. Abram, one of the strongest competitors in Challenge history, was not willing to take on Alton despite telling him on the plane he was going to beat him all season. Alton has a career 5–1 elimination record, with 3 finals appearances and possibly the greatest team win in Challenge history.
1st Laurel Stucky
Another top 10 list where Laurel ends up #1 … how original … I mean, what can I say other than Laurel might be the most dominant competitor in all of Challenge history. Her partner for Fresh Meat 2 was Kenny, who was historically not strong in daily challenges. They won 5/9 of the challenges, won an elimination during the day they didn’t have immunity, and threw a win to their friends Jill and Pete to show loyalty. Her and Abram carried a weak Grey Team (well the Guys at least) on Cutthroat to 100k in Daily Wins and she eliminated Red Team Gulag Ringer Camila. She earned another final on Rivals 1 with a much weaker Cara Maria as her partner, and finally got a win on Free Agents where she single-handedly eliminated her biggest threats in the game. Laurel has both the record for most consecutive elimination wins and is tied for most consecutive finals appearance by a female. To put the nail in the coffin, Cara Maria has made the final of every season she has done since Rivals 2, except for Free Agents and Invasion. Who eliminated her? Laurel. The most dominant girl in the modern era simply can’t get over the Laurel mountain. Laurel deserves the #1 spot.