Challenge Choices: Was It A Mistake To Nominate Ashley Into The Arena?

After Cara Maria threw her to the wolves, the newest champ was sent packing

“We’re getting this close,” Ashley M said toward the top of tonight’s Challenge: Champs vs. Pros mission as she looked toward the contest’s next chapter. “I’m nervous. Because when I make it to this final — positive thinking — I’m gonna have to go head-to-head with a pro athlete.”

Sadly, the matchup would come sooner than that, and it wouldn’t go exactly as planned.

On tonight’s episode, the game’s final six men and six women sought to survive two imminent elimination rounds and claim spots in the Final 10. And the road to the coming round proved to be the toughest yet — in “Over the Line,” a spin on a classic Duel game, teams were challenged to battle through same-sex heats of three-versus-three tug of war. Each side would fight to advance past a designated line, and after two grueling matches (plus a captains-on-captains tie-breaker), the Champs were declared the winners, and Cara Maria was forced to make an unsettling choice.

Yup, Victor flipped the script on the typical nomination ceremony and told the winning woman captain she had to choose one of her own two female teammates to battle Lolo Jones — the game’s losing woman captain — in the first Champ vs. Pro elimination round.

And though Ashley had already survived every elimination round and was still riding high from an Invasion win, Cara Maria couldn’t conceive of throwing her pal Camila — the only other choice — to the wolves. And so, Ashley prepared to fight for her life for the third time against Lolo, who would do the same.

Unfortunately, it would be the reigning champ’s last hurrah.

In “Going The Distance,” a new spin on “Knot So Fast,” players had to undo one of two seemingly never-ending ropes that were each wound through players’ respective jungle gyms. While Ashley fought tooth and nail, Lolo simply proved to be too much to stave off and, with a final, decisive tug, Ashley was sent packing.

To put it simply, she didn’t take it well. As Ash stole away to a production van and slammed the door, her team considered that they’d lost some real muscle — even the Pros couldn’t help but empathize with Ashley, whom they saw as a true survivor. So now that all is said and done, are the Champs at a deficit without Ashley? As Darrell pointed out, she’s got the heart of a lion and, very simply, “You can’t teach heart.”

What do you think — did Cara Maria make the right choice by throwing Ashley to the wolves, or did she make a huge mistake and could it cost the Champs? Share your thoughts, and see how Champs vs. Pros shakes out next Tuesday at 9/8c!