Every month, the Spartan Power Rankings lists the top 10 male and female racers in the world right now. The rankings are predominantly based on recent accomplishments and results, with some consideration given to overall athlete resumes and future predictors of success. They are based on some data analysis, but more so the eye test, which of course is subjective.
Making each month's picks is Spartan Pro Kevin Donoghue. A Spartan Pro Team member from 2015-21, he has amassed more than 150 podium appearances during his illustrious career and captured 112 Age Group victories. In addition to his brilliance on the course, he's also a veteran Spartan broadcaster, having called three Spartan World Championships.
The 2022 U.S. race season kicked off with a race in Southern California, followed by Arizona's insanely flat and fast course and the first-ever Age Group-focused United States National Series weekend, presented by USANA, in Jacksonville.
Things were certainly beginning to heat up at the end of February, but after a busy slate of races in San Luis Obispo — featuring yet another USNS Age Group race and the start of the new North American Elite Series — a muddy weekend in Atlanta, and a "Super Ultra" in San Antonio (plus the start of spring), the 2022 race season is in full effect, and these fan-favorite racers are just getting started.
Let the debate begin!
The Top 10 Spartan Racers Going Into April 2022: The Women
1. Lindsay Webster
Even if San Luis Obispo (SLO) was the last time we ever see Lindsay compete on a Spartan course (What do you think?), she went out in style — winning. With all-time greats retiring and un-retiring so frequently, I will refrain from a glorious send-off, but hats off to the women's GOAT.
2. Emma Cook-Clarke
With Lindsay potentially walking away from competitive OCR, Nicole Mericle taking a wise and conservative approach to her rehab, and Annie Dube still healing from her elbow injury, there's an abyss to fill in the women's field. Emma is one of the insanely talented athletes who could possibly help fill it. Her second-place SLO performance was a step in the right direction.
3. Alexandra Walker
Alex is already an OCR superstar, and has added even more speed and endurance to her arsenal as of late. If she can put that all together with a consistent obstacle game, the 2022 season could shape up to be the greatest of her already illustrious career.
4. Kris Rugloski
A top-five finisher in SLO, Kris showed some serious guts outdueling Arielle Fitzgerald on the A-Frame Cargo to finish the fight. Plus, she's also one of the greatest DEKA FIT athletes out there, and has completed multiple 100-mile races at her young age. There's essentially no distance or discipline where she isn't an elite competitor.
5. Ida Mathilde Steensgaard
Ida took forth in SLO after a serious battle with Alex Walker. After besting Alex twice earlier this year, Ida has been a wrecking ball recently during her stay in the States. Hopefully, the Copenhagen OCR crusher comes back to compete some more this season.
6. Arielle Fitzgerald
Always in the fight, Arielle also always shows some guts. Her battle with Kris in SLO was definitely memorable, and was a bright moment out on the course.
7. Rose Wetzel
Back for another season, this Spartan OG continues to snag podiums and be a serious threat at every event she enters.
8. Faye Morgan
Faye is incredible. Truly.
After recovering from a foot injury (that she battled all last season), she was able to keep up with the pace in SLO. Finishing just behind Rose in 8th place, this U.S. Marine and mother of five just continues to amaze.
9. Ashley Heller
Notorious for doing epic stuff and continuously crushing Spartan races, Ashley has had a great start to the year with two bronze finishes in Arizona, followed by a 9th place finish at SLO.
10. Kaci Monroe
Kaci scored a pair of silver finishes in Arizona just in front of Ashley. However, the latter beat her in SLO, so Ashley continues to have bragging rights until they face off again.
The Top 10 Spartan Racers Going Into April 2022: The Men
1. Veejay Jones
Though the inaugural North American Elite Series kickoff in SLO gave the Spartan world plenty to argue about, Veejay's performance wasn't ever in question. The reigning U.S. National Series champ threw down a masterpiece that would have been good enough to win any Super or Sprint that day.
2. Ryan Atkins
Now this is where it gets interesting. Ryan's finish at SLO was not what anyone would have expected, but neither was the course. Plus, he completed the 350-mile Iditarod race on a bike just days before the race — certainly no small feat, especially when jumping straight into pre-race recovery.
3. Ryan Kent
After setting the DEKA FIT world record earlier this year, Ryan followed it up with another win at DEKA FIT Denver, and a top-10 performance at the SLO 10K Super.
4. Mark Gaudet
This 2021 Spartan Ultra World Champion showed his incredible range this March, finishing in the top 10 at SLO and third at his very first DEKA FIT in Austin. Keep your eyes on Mark Gaudet this April.
5. Mark Batres
Like many others, Mark Batres raced his ass off at SLO. (And we all know that the 2021 World's Toughest Mudder Champion has plenty of speed.) However, with the alleged lack of Elite obstacle difficulty at SLO, Mark's second-place performance hasn't yet earned him a higher ranking position at this point.
6. Hunter McIntyre
All the Sheriff needs to show that he is still one of the world's best is a grinding course and some epic obstacle combinations (enter San Antonio's "Super Ultra").
7. Tyler Veerman
A victim to the course at SLO, Tyler has nonetheless put down some great performances (namely in Jacksonville last month) already this year to earn high recognition.
8. Rylan Schadegg
Rylan is definitely a force to be reckoned with after the respect he earned last year at the Utah U.S. National Series race. He's been putting in the work on obstacle training ever since, so expect more great things from him this season.
9. Logan Broadbent
He may be small, but Logan is mighty. He has a better pedigree than his 11th-place finish at the SLO Cross Country Invitational, and will absolutely show it in the near future.
10. Nic Maszk
Nic truly showed what it takes to be great in SLO. He absolutely smoked Hawk Call on the Hercules Hoist to vault himself from 4th to 3rd toward the very end. It showed a lot of grit, and I'm hoping to see him build on it in the months to come.