Toughman 2017

The event was still the same ...


But many of the players were different ...

6 of the brave 9


As was the belt ....




And the highlight video ... 

It is much shorter, shows only the highlights, and does not reveal the winner.



At the request of the competitors, the reporting of the results will also be different. 

A mini-bio will be provided for each athlete, along with their test results, and the raw footage of their entire Toughman Event.

With that, enclosed are the results of the 2017 Toughman.

9th Place: James Uske
  • Finish Time: 1 minute 43.6 seconds
  • Previous Best: 2 minutes (2016)
  • 2017 Pre-Test Rank: 7th
  • Number of Years in Toughman: 3
  • Best Event: 4th place in first set of Sliders (11 seconds)
  • Worst Event: 9th place in Farmer's Walk (11 seconds)
The 2015 Toughman Champ put in a very solid effort by trimming almost 17 seconds off of his 2016 Toughman time.

This is quite impressive given he had to miss formal Toughman Training for a few weeks due to a family vacation.

A normal person would have just bailed from the competition, but Uske made the most of his situation by doing plate pushes, rows, and db farmers walks at the local gym in Ocean City, Maryland.




8th Place: Joe Mreczko
  • Finish Time: 1 minute 35.4 seconds
  • Previous Best: N/A
  • 2017 Pre-Test Rank: 5th
  • Number of Years in Toughman: 1 (Rookie)
  • Best Event: 1st place in the Farmer's Walk (7 seconds) and the Sled (22 Seconds)
  • Worst Event: 9th place in both sets of sliders (13 seconds and 25.3 seconds)
While Joe has trained with us for years, this is the first year he ever competed in the actual Toughman Event.

His strong grip helped him dominate both the farmers walk and sled pull, but his size got the best of him on both sets of sliders.

If Joe improves his relative body strength, he will finish in the Top 3 of the 2018 Toughman. He already set a PR for pull-ups last week by getting 15. Not bad for a guy who weighs 245 lbs



7th Place: Joe O'Neill
  • Finish Time: 1 minute 33 seconds
  • Previous Best: 1 minute 43 seconds
  • 2017 Pre-Test Rank: 9th
  • Number of Years in Toughman: 2
  • Best Event: 1st in both High Prowler Pushes (6 seconds and 8 seconds)
  • Worst Event: 9th in first set of sliders (13 seconds)
Last year's HONORABLE MENTION winner was predicted to come in last both in 2016 and 2017.

When Joe saw this year's pre-test rankings., he questioned the morals and social habits of every other guy in the program. He also took his training to another level in order to prove everyone else wrong.

And that he did ... not only did he not come in last ... he took 10 seconds off of his 2016 time.

It probably would have been lower had he not had to redo his first set of sliders due to a mental error.

My bet is that he breaks 1:25 in 2018.



6th Place: John Esposito
  • Finish Time: 1 minute 30.1 seconds
  • Previous Best: N/A
  • 2017 Pre-Test Rank: 3rd
  • Number of Years in Toughman: 1 (Rookie)
  • Best Event: 1st place in the 2nd set of sliders (12.9 seconds)
  • Worst Event: 9th in the 2nd set of High Handle Prowlers (15.5 seconds)
Before the event, I honestly had no idea where I thought John would place. While training for the competition, he would have events where he was mediocre and then he would have events where he smoked everyone (including me). What made it more confusing was that this would happen on the same day with the same Toughman tool.

If the stars happened to align and John had a good day, I knew he had the potential to win the entire thing.

Unfortunately, John had two major errors during the event.

1. He dropped the farmer's walk.
2. He fell doing into the low handles on the prowler.

If you watch the video, you will see that John is the only one to attempt to carry the farmer's walk with one hand.

Even though he dropped it, I respect his grit.
It's exactly how he plays on a football field.




5th Place: Andrew Cortese
  • Finish Time: 1 minute 29.6 seconds
  • Previous Best: N/A
  • 2017 Pre-Test Rank: 6th
  • Number of Years in Toughman: 1 (Rookie)
  • Best Event: 1st in second High Handle Prowler Push (8 seconds)
  • Worst Event: 9th place in the Sled Pull (32 seconds)
Cortese's Toughman Event was the Tale of Two Cities.

He dominated the first 70% of the competition.

He actually got to the sled pull faster than any other competitor. Unfortunately, it also took him longer to do the sled pull than any other competitor. (The exact timing for these event splits can be seen at the end of this article.)

While he is certainly very strong for his 155lb frame (he is ranked 18th on the overall Power Point List), his hand size and grip strength wasn't good enough to get an effective pull on the chain. He took ten seconds longer on this than the faster person on the sled pull. Coincidentally, he lost the Toughman by those same 10 seconds.

Being an overachiever, I know he will close this gap in 2018.

If he does, he will be certainly be in the Top 3.




4th Place: Bobby Wing
  • Finish Time: 1 minute 27.7 seconds
  • Previous Best: N/A
  • 2017 Pre-Test Rank: 8th
  • Number of Years in Toughman: 1 (Rookie)
  • Best Event: 1st place in Low Handle Prowler (7.5 seconds)
  • Worst Event: 7th place in both High Handle Prowlers (7.5 seconds and 15 seconds)
For 95% of the Toughman, Bobby Wing proved why he was the best running back in NYC 2 years in a row.

If anyone is a Tough Man, it is Bobby Wing. He would grind out yard after yard for St. Peter's High School even when the entire defense knew he was getting the ball.

Why his opponents would project him to come in 8th is beyond my comprehension.

Back to the 95% part ... Wing was on pace to push for a top 2 finish when he completely lost it on the second round of sliders.

It was the worst collapse I have seen since the Yankees blew a 3-0 playoff lead to the Red Sox in 2004.


While some people lose one slider, Wing found a way to lose two.

This easily cost him 5 seconds and a shot at the title.




3rd Place: Fred Carpentieri
  • Finish Time: 1 minute 25.7 seconds
  • Previous Best: N/A (did other Toughman format)
  • 2017 Pre-Test Rank: 4th
  • Number of Years in Toughman: 2
  • Best Event: 1st place in First High Handle Prowler (6 seconds)
  • Worst Event: 9th place in Low Handle Prowler (12.3 seconds)
Carpentieri signed up for the Toughman about halfway through our training sessions. Had he had the full summer to train, he probably would be in the mix for the top slot.

What I like about Carpentieri is that he doesn't know mediocrity. I say this because he either does really good or really bad at each event of the competition.

Here is how he fared at each event compared to his peers, with the good being green and the red being bad. Notice there is no yellow for being mediocre.

  • 1st slider - 9th
  • Farmer's walk - 6th
  • 1st High Handle Prowler - 1st
  • Low Handle Prowler - 9th
  • 2nd High Handle Prowler - 6th
  • Sled Pull - 3rd
  • 2nd Sliders - 3rd

Side note: Carpentieri showed up late for the Toughman event and was technically banned. His time does not officially count, which is why he did not receive the Bronze Medal.



2nd Place: Mario Mock (Silver Medal)


  • Finish Time: 1 minute 21.9 seconds
  • Previous Best: 1 minute 21.5 seconds
  • 2017 Pre-Test Rank: 1st
  • Number of Years in Toughman: 3
  • Best Event: 1st in First and Second sets of Sliders (9 seconds and 12.5 seconds)
  • Worst Event: 8th in the first High Handle Prowler Push (8.5 seconds)
Over the past few years, Mock has proved himself to be a fierce competitor.

He is ranked 12th on the overall Power Point List ,he was the 2014 Challenge Champ, and he came in 2nd in the 2016 Toughman.

Unfortunately for Mock, he also came in 2nd in the 2017 Toughman.

While some would say this is an honor, a true competitor knows this is devastating. To come so close to glory 2 years in a row, only to lose it, is truly heart breaking.

Mock definitely had a disadvantage in this event.

The person who attended the most training sessions got to pick who went first. They also got to pick when they went.

That person picked Mock to go first and himself to go last.

That same person will be spoken about more in the next paragraph, as that person came in first place.






1st Place: Drew Olsen (Gold Medal)


  • Finish Time: 1 minute 19.6 seconds
  • Previous Best: N/A (did other Toughman format)
  • 2017 Pre-Test Rank: 2nd
  • Number of Years in Toughman: 3
  • Best Event: 1st place in the Sled Pull (22 seconds) 
  • Worst Event: 5th in the first High Handle Prowler (7 seconds)
In the 2011 Toughman, Drew Olsen tapped out.

In the 2012 Toughman, he finished 12th. His finish time was 2 minutes and 20 seconds worse than the #1 competitor.

Long story short, Drew wasn't even close to winning a Toughman ...

... Until 2017 when he won the entire thing.



A few things to note:


  • Drew attended the most training session of any Toughman Competitor this year. Not only did this get him prepared, it also allowed him the opportunity to place himself in the last slot and Mock in the first slot.
  • Drew only came in first in one event in the competition. On the flip side, he never came in lower than 5th. This shows you are better off being pretty good at everything rather than really good at 1-2 things and really bad at everything else.
  • Drew also won the 2017 Challenge, giving him 2 awesome belts that no one can ever take away from him.



To me, the best part was watching Drew scream immediately after he won. It is always great to see a man soaked in emotion after his hard work and preparation brings him glory. (Check out around 1:35 in the video below.)



Wrap-Up

I hope you appreciated the new format of the reporting structure for the  2017 Toughman. If things got a bit hard to follow, much prettier pictures are provided in the links below.

To me, the most interesting link is the last one. This is where you can really break down how each athlete fared at each moment of the competition.
  • The final results can be found HERE.
  • A list of every past Toughman Winner can be found HERE.
  • The 2017 Toughman Training Attendance can be found HERE.
  • The splits for every event in the Toughman can be found HERE.