Balanced Mitch 2024 Open Recap

The Balanced Mitch 2024 Open, which took place May 30–June 5, brought a new twist on the Mitch that required as much strategy as it did strength. The event hit a new record of 67 athletes registered and did not disappoint. 

In the Balanced Mitch workout, competitors had two minutes to complete a maximum number of unbroken bench press reps at a designated weight (185 pounds for men, 95 pounds for women), followed by a maximum number of strict unbroken pull-ups. The athlete’s overall score for the competition was the lowest rep count of the two exercises.

The Donor Games were created to dispel the myth that donating a kidney impairs a person’s fitness level. In this Open, the top finisher in the men’s donor category outperformed all general athletes, further demonstrating that donating a kidney does not impair a person’s health or fitness.

Donor Games veteran Garet Hil found himself back on the top of the men’s donor category for the ninth time in his Donor Games career, but not without competition. He took the lead early with a score of 13, only to see Mike Ramsey take the helm on a tiebreaker. Hil separated himself from the pack after posting an imposing score of 21, the best of any competitor in the field. With the next four athletes all within a single point of each other, a logjam for the remaining top spots developed.

Mike Ramsey and Justin King both put up impressive scores of 13, but it was Ramsey who edged out King by one rep to take home second place. Jason Elmore and liver donor Tommy Sullivan tied for fourth place, finishing only one point behind Ramsey and King. The men’s donor category saw more athletes post scores in the double digits than any other group in the field.

The women’s donor category saw some last-minute fireworks on the leaderboard, with great competitors jockeying for the top spot. Donor Games superstar Mimi Mahon had the lead for the majority of the event with a score of 9, but McKenzie Hull had something to say about that. Hull surged past Mahon with a score of 12, taking the lead temporarily on the last day of competition. Roni Hays then pushed Mahon down to third place after she hung a score of 10 on the leaderboard, but Mahon had one last attempt on the final night of the competition. When the dust settled, it was Mimi Mahon who reigned victorious, beating McKenzie Hull on a tiebreaker. Hull finished the competition in second place, with Roni Hays right behind her in third. First-year athlete Emmy Spencer Probasco performed well and ended up in fourth, and Courtney Cox rounded out the top five with a fifth-place finish.

Joe Curry won the men’s recipient category in his first-ever competition. He did the workout with his donor, Brandon Cullen, with both athletes turning in strong performances. Curry won the division, but not without a relentless pursuit by Wilson Du. Du submitted four attempts, improving on each one. Du’s last attempt put him within a point of the lead, but he fell just shy of the top spot. First-time competitor Leo Draham, a liver recipient, finished third in the field, and longtime Donor Games participant Scott Claybrook was back from injury with a fourth-place finish.

Nicki Mahon secured the win in the women’s transplant recipient division. With the support of her daughter, Mimi, she willed her way to first place. Her top finish was followed by first-time competitor Kim Couch in second, Merrill Walker in third, and Bridget Hargot-Ramsey in fourth. 

Greg Holt won the men’s general group with a spectacular score of 20. Holt held off rookie Mason Holmes, who was right on his heels at 19.

It was great to see the 2013 “Fittest Woman on Earth” back in the field at the Donor Games. Sam Briggs dominated the competition in the women’s general category with an outstanding score of 19 to lock in her win. We saw some sibling rivalry between twin sisters Kiana and Shanell Sullenberger, with Kiana beating out Shanell by one pull-up rep to take fourth place in the category.

Final Leaderboard

Living Donors: Men
Rank Participant Age State Video
1 Garet Hil 61 CT 21 21 21 Watch workout video
2 Mike Ramsey 51 WI 17 13 13 Watch workout video
3 Justin King 46 AL 13 16 13 Watch workout video
T4 Jason Elmore 43 TX 14 12 12 Watch workout video
T4 Tommy Sullivan 30 OK 12 14 12 Watch workout video
6 Kevin Kilkenny 54 NY 16 10 10 Watch workout video
7 Brandon Cullen 25 NY 10 15 10 Watch workout video
8 Jon Sullenberger 61 WA 8 7 7 Watch workout video
9 Steve Holmes 52 PA 5 11 5 Watch workout video
10 Cornelius Bornman 47 MI 5 10 5 Watch workout video
11 Anonymous Donor 44 ME 5 5 5 Watch workout video
Jose Amezola Beltran 35 CO DQ Watch workout video
Kevin Hernandez Valdez 32 UT DNC
Cody Maynard 28 TN DQ Watch workout video
Mark Murray 35 PA DNC
Chris Sullivan 55 CO DNC
Jeffrey Woford 58 AR DNC
Living Donors: Women
Rank Participant Age State Video
1 Mimi Mahon 36 OH 20 12 12 Watch workout video
2 McKenzie Hull 34 OH 16 12 12 Watch workout video
3 Roni Hays 27 MS 20 10 10 Watch workout video
4 Emmy Spencer Probasco 44 MD 13 7 7 Watch workout video
5 Courtney Cox 40 MO 9 6 6 Watch workout video
6 Molly Cropp 43 CO 9 2 2 Watch workout video
7 Anna Cannington 56 MS 8 8 8* Watch workout video
T8 Andrea Alejandro 44 TX 20 7 7* Watch workout video
T8 Radley West 52 SC 7 7 7* Watch workout video
10 Janet Walker 40 NY 17 5 5* Watch workout video
11 Angie MacDonald 44 OH 10 1 1* Watch workout video
Karen Butts 49 SC DNC
Joyce Collier 41 NY DNC
Lindsay Gutierrez 41 MD DNC
Victoria Rhodes 43 NY DNC
Transplant Recipients: Men
Rank Participant Age State Video
1 Joe Curry 25 NY 12 9 9 Watch workout video
2 Wilson Du 42 CA 9 8 8 Watch workout video
3 Leo Draham 35 PA 8 6 6 Watch workout video
4 Scott Claybrook 42 AL 5 8 5* Watch workout video
Nick Cesarini 26 CT DNC
Luis Suarez 32 AZ DNC
Transplant Recipients: Women
Rank Participant Age State Video
1 Nicki Mahon 66 OH 20 20 20* Watch workout video
2 Kim Couch 67 OH 18 15 15* Watch workout video
3 Merrill Walker 67 TX 25 11 11* Watch workout video
4 Bridget Hargot-Ramsey 49 WI 3 3 3* Watch workout video
Lauren Streets 39 IL DNC
General: Men
Rank Participant Age State Video
1 Greg Holt 38 CT 21 20 20 Watch workout video
2 Mason Holmes 22 CA 19 23 19 Watch workout video
3 Tony Lauters 33 NE 17 20 17 Watch workout video
T4 Edson DaCosta 45 NY 15 10 10 Watch workout video
T4 Kyler Hargot 30 IL 10 15 10 Watch workout video
6 Justin Harris 41 WI 11 9 9 Watch workout video
7 Victor Pena 21 CT 7 11 7 Watch workout video
8 Danny Ma 36 CA 22 6 6 Watch workout video
9 Kevin Fulton 32 CT 10 6 6 Watch workout video
Jose DeSouza 28 NY DQ Watch workout video
Ryan Meehan 41 CT DQ Watch workout video
Tony Sandoval 48 WI DNC
Casey Schmitz 39 NY DNC
Jason Wasserman 49 NY DQ Watch workout video
Brandon Wipperfurth 29 WI DNC
General: Women
Rank Participant Age State Video
1 Sam Briggs 42 OH 23 19 19 Watch workout video
2 Megan Bell 33 WI 20 14 14 Watch workout video
3 Mary Fisher 41 WI 12 15 12 Watch workout video
4 Kiana Sullenberger 30 WA 18 11 11 Watch workout video
5 Shanell Sullenberger 30 WA 18 10 10 Watch workout video
6 Abigail Lauters 37 NE 16 10 10 Watch workout video
7 Jen Knispel 46 WI 23 7 7 Watch workout video
8 Shauna Naefke 48 CA 14 5 5 Watch workout video
Sentura Tubbs 28 CA DNC

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* Athlete performed a modified workout.
DNC: Athlete registered but did not complete the workout

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Founding Sponsors

  • National Kidney Foundation
  • National Kidney Registry
  • National Kidney Donation Organization