Editor's Note: These rankings reflect all completed races through the end of June. For results of every July race and beyond, click here.
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.
The end of June marked the conclusion of the first half of the Spartan season. (Can you believe we're already halfway through 2021?!) Now that we're at the midway point of the season, this is a perfect time to look at which racers are leading the charge through six months of competition. The season started slow, due to COVID-related postponements, but after a jam-packed June, we now have a healthy sample size of races to work off of.
Making each month's picks is none other than Spartan pro Kevin Donoghue. A Spartan Pro Team member since 2015, he has amassed more than 150 podium appearances during his illustrious career and captured 106 Age Group victories. In addition to his brilliance on the course, he's also a veteran Spartan broadcaster, having called three Spartan World Championships.
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Let the debate begin!
The Top 10 Women at the Midway Point of the Season
No female competitor has had a better year than Alex to date. After a very strong start — she finished in fourth at the U.S. National Series race in Jacksonville — she proceeded to amass seven podiums in seven appearances, winning five and finishing second twice. Three of those wins came in Ohio, where she swept three races in one day. Logan Broadbent did the same on the men's side, marking the first time that's ever happened.
Kaci has nine total podiums so far in 2021, including two victories and six silver medals. The highlight of her season came in Montana, where she reached the podium in three different races.
Though she only ran one race, and a few months later sustained a season-ending injury, that one performance was about as dominant as any we've ever seen. Her win at the U.S. National Series race in Jacksonville was the most impressive showing of the year, hands down.
She got a very late start, but her performances have been so dominant that I can't possibly rank her any lower. Two wins in Colorado, to go along with a dominant race in the Montana Ultra, have made her one of the best midseason stories in the sport.
Three victories — two of which were against Alex Walker — plus second- and third-place performances make her an easy choice for the No. 5 spot. Rugloski and Victor Quezada are the only racers this year to podium a Super, Sprint, and Stadion.
If you haven't been paying close attention, you may have very well overlooked what Miranda has accomplished this season. Here are the indisputable numbers: six podiums, two victories, two fourth-place finishes, and an eighth-place finish at the USNS race in Jacksonville. She is obstacle-sound, athletic, fast, and super competitive. Put it all together and you have one of the most well-rounded racers in the world.
She started off very strong, with a third-place finish in Jacksonville, and followed it up with some solid performances in Austin and Colorado. If she had raced more she'd likely be ranked higher.
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That second-place performance in Jacksonville shows how much more well-rounded and dangerous she's become. Hopefully we get to see her more in the second half of the season.
No one has fought through more ups and downs this season than Heller. Despite some serious real-world obstacles, she has put together a fantastic season. She has four podiums, including a win in Vegas (over Kaci Monroe, no less).
Faye has been a podium threat at every race she's competed in this year. In most of those races, she was edged out by many of the women on this list. But she never stops working, never stops competing, and never gives up. Recently, that hard work paid off with a podium at the State Farm Stadium Stadion. And that podium was a WIN, in a nail-biter that came down to the final seconds.
The Top 10 Men at the Midway Point of the Season
He started off his season with a commanding victory in Jacksonville, and followed that up with weekend sweeps in Vegas and Colorado. He's unquestionably the MVP at the season's midpoint.
He had a long layoff after a tremendous third-place finish at the USNS race in Jacksonville, but an epic weekend in Ohio vaults him to second. In early June, he became the first racer (man or woman) to record a Golden Triple Crown weekend, winning the Beast, Super, and Sprint. Less than an hour later, he was joined by Alexandra Walker, who became the first woman to achieve the Golden Triple Crown.
So far in 2021, Mark has a 10th-place finish in Jacksonville, a pair of bronze triangles in Charlotte, and an Ultra silver (behind Tyler Veerman) in Ohio. He was having a really solid season until Fayetteville ... where he proceeded to go nuts. He matched Logan Broadbent by becoming the second man to achieve a Trifecta Weekend Golden Triple Crown.
After finishing fourth in Jacksonville, Gowiski placed first and second in two Charlotte races, beating Mark Gaudet both times. He then racked up three second-place performances at the Fayetteville Trifecta Weekend, finishing behind Mark Gaudet in each one. This most recent performance was my tiebreaker, but a Silver Triple Crown is still amazing!
He didn't race much in the first half, but when he did, it counted for a lot. He finished in second at the USNS race in Jacksonville, and a strong performance in Charlotte — where he edged out Brian Gowiski and Mark Gaudet — lands him in the fifth spot at the season's midpoint.
Two victories at the Palm Beaches Sprint Weekend were followed up by a dominant performance at the Ohio Ultra. Throw in a second-place performance behind Veejay Jones — while beating Ryan Kent — at the Colorado Springs Sprint, and Tyler has officially put the Spartan World on notice.
He got a late start, but he's already done a lot of damage. He shook off any rustiness he may have had following a lost 2020 by winning the the Austin Sprint, and followed that up by winning the most grueling Spartan Stadion on the schedule, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The following day, in Colorado, he took third in the Sprint.
If it wasn't for Ryan Kent beating him in both the Austin Sprint and at AT&T Stadium — he finished in second in both races — he would have four victories instead of two. That said, Victor's season has gone wire to wire. He took second in the Jacksonville Super, first and second in San Antonio, and first and second in Austin. (He took the Super in Austin.)
(TIED) Kirk DeWindt and Ian Hosek
Kirk's seventh-place finish in Jacksonville, to go with second- and third-place showings in Vegas, make for a very respectable first half of the season. Ian has been equally impressive, finishing in first and second in the Montana Beast and Sprint, respectively. He rounded his first half out with a second-place performance in the Colorado Springs Super, behind Veejay. The hairs were too thin to split between these two, so I didn't try.
(TIED) Dustin Livengood and Cole DeRosa
Both of these men float between Elite and Age Group. I say float because they always represent the sport with tremendous class and dignity. And both of them have been absolutely crushing Spartan courses this year, all across the United States. They represent everything that I love about our Spartan community, and they have both earned the respect of everybody in it.