A slick, wobbly ladder over muddy water swamped the Mathletes' quest for $250,000.
A group of University at Buffalo students competing in the NBC obstacle course show "Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge" advanced to the semifinals on Sunday night along with five other teams.
But the UB team of Chris Komin and Ellen Lutnick, both of Grand Island, Zoe Herrick, of Rochester, and Trevor Bernard, of Long Island, fell behind on the human ladder obstacle and couldn't recover in time to win a spot in the three-team final.
Lutnick overcame a dislocated shoulder in an earlier event to compete in the semifinals.
The squad – dubbed the Mathletes because of the teammates' shared interest in mathematics at UB – began as a heavy underdog and emerged over several episodes as a legitimate contender for the $250,000 prize.
A team of weightlifting enthusiasts called "Strike a Pose" ended up winning.
In the semifinal, the Mathletes rolled a 2,000 pound barrel up an incline, tossed giant spears at a target and hoisted a massive timber and then climbed it, among a host of other obstacles.
With an average age of 20, the Mathletes were the youngest of the 24 teams competing in the second season of "Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge."