Announced today, more than 50 men and women athletes have been named to the 2018 Spartan Pro Team. The cohort of elite obstacle-course racers are part of an expanded edition of the team that will compete for cash and prizes while slugging it out toward the World Championship in North Lake Tahoe, Calif.
Per the announcement, Spartan Pro racers are now categorized into two distinct groups: “Premier” and “Select.”
Premier athletes include some of the biggest names in OCR who are staples on the Spartan podium including: Robert Killian, Alyssa Hawley, Ryan Kent, Rea Kolbl and Nicole Mericle. Killian and Hawley placed third in the men’s and women’s categories at the 2017 Spartan World Championship.
The Select athlete program was created to expand the competitive field at Spartan events while developing new talent. The category features more than 50 athletes that consistently finish in the top 20, including Veejay Jones, the youngest athlete to ever win a Spartan race, Broken Skull Ranch Champion Cassidy Watton, “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor in Paradise” contestant Kirk DeWindt, and more, such as Leigh Wasteney, Rachel Paquette, Sara Knight and Austin Azar.
Joe DiStefano, Spartan Pro Team Coach, explained via press release that the new team structure—amid new talent flooding into OCR—is designed to promote competitive clashes.
“The battle between the established pros and up-and-coming athletes will forge rivalries on the course creating an exciting season for racers and fans alike,” DiStefano said.
Official Spartan 2018 partners were also part of the announcement: Craft Sportswear (Performance Apparel and Footwear), Darn Tough Vermont (Sock) and Gatorz Eyewear (Sunglasses of the Spartan Honor Series and Spartan World Championship) will outfit the Pro Team this season.
The announcement came as the U.S. National series heads to Snohomish, Wash., tomorrow, April 14. At stake in the five-race series is $100,000 in cash prizes. Athletes vying for the title of U.S. Champion will be seeking to win the most ranking points by racing well in the series. The 2018 U.S. National Series champions will be crowned in the finale in Eden, Utah, on July 28. More details are available on the Spartan Championships page.