Hometown: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Previous Season: Survivor: Cagayan
Previous Placing: 11/18
Days Lasted: 19
Correctly Voted for Boot: 1
Votes Received: 6
Individual Immunity Challenge Wins: 0
Most Memorable Moment: Forming Cops R Us alliance with Tony Vlachos and being blindsided at the merge vote.
What happened in her previous season: Sarah, a police officer, was placed on the Brawn tribe in the first iteration of Brawn v Brains v Beauty. Within the first ten minutes of the show, Sarah was put in the spotlight. Each tribe had to nominate one person who could make a well thought out decision for their tribe. Sarah was chosen by her Brawn tribemates and had to make a tough decision instantly – to eliminate one person from her tribe. Sarah took the most practical and least controversial approach by choosing Trish Hegarty, the tribe’s eldest and presumed weakest member. Luckily for Sarah, Trish (who wasn’t actually eliminated) took the decision with a grain of salt. It was a risk that paid off, as not only did Trish not hold a grudge against Sarah, but Trish was also the only “outcast” to choose rice for the tribe instead of looking for an idol.
In the early game, Sarah appeared to get along with all of her tribe members. She was the liaison between the feuding Trish and Lindsey Ogle, as well as playing in the middle of the Cliff Robinson and Tony Vlachos power struggle. However, one of the most prominent moves Sarah made early on was outing season winner and fellow Game Changers competitor Tony for being a cop. While Tony initially denied the accusations, he later came clean and pledged his allegiance to Sarah, swearing on his badge. A promise that comforted Sarah and formed the Cops-R-Us alliance.
Sarah performed exceptionally in all tribal challenges. One of her more memorable challenge moments was when she demolished Brains tribe member J’Tia Taylor in a puzzle and said, “I think I’m on the wrong tribe, Jeff.” In the fourth immunity challenge, after a lying Tony told her that Cliff and Lindsey were targeting her, Sarah made a move to throw the challenge and blindside Cliff. However, even in her best efforts, Sarah and the Brawns could not throw the challenge due to the poor performance by the Brains tribe. Brawn was the only tribe not to attend tribal council pre-swap.
The three tribes were shuffled into two on Day 12. Sarah was left as the only remaining Brawn still on Aparri, as all her former tribemates swapped to the Solana tribe. While this made Sarah the odd woman out, it put her in the perfect swing vote position between the three former Brains and three former Beauties. Quickly, Sarah, along with the old Brains tribe, banded together and watched the dismantling of the former Beauty tribe as they turned on one another. After winning the first post-swap immunity, Sarah was ecstatic to see enemies Cliff and Lindsey eliminated from the Solana tribe.
At the next immunity challenge, which Appari lost, Sarah was concerned when she heard her old Cops R Us ally, Tony, yelling “Top five, baby, top five” with his new tribemates. Feeling excluded from her old alliance, Sarah decided to commit herself to her new Appari alliance. They discussed getting rid of Jeremiah Wood, feeling that his past relationships with LJ McKanas and Jefra Bland meant he was the most likely to jump ship at the merge. However, in the end, it was Alexis Maxwell’s constant plotting and strategizing that cost her the game, as Sarah, along with the rest of the tribe, voted Alexis out.
At the merge, Sarah once again found herself in the swing position. She was initially committed to the Appari alliance, but her inability to compromise on the target led to a war with Kass McQuillen. Tony tried to pull Sarah back into his alliance, while the Aparri tribe looked to pacify Sarah so that she’d stick with them. It was Sarah who famously stated that she had “all the power,” and if we’ve learned anything from Dolly in Vanuatu, the swing vote who can’t make up their mind ends up being the target. Sarah voted for Tony at the final tribal council.
Sarah flat out refused to vote out Jefra or Trish, instead wanting to vote a more physical threat like LJ or Tony, but the other Apparis rightly feared that those players could have an idol. Sarah would not listen to reason which continued to frustrate Kass. With tension between Sarah and Kass, Trish sensed an opportunity. Moments before tribal, Trish played on Kass’ fears that she was the lowest on the totem pole within her current tribe. Trish asked Kass who she’d like to take out, and Kass said Sarah’s name, giving Tony’s alliance something to run with.
That night, at tribal council, the gloves came off amongst all cast members. For starters, Tony whipped out an idol, prompting the opposing alliance to go with “Plan B” as they openly strategized in front of Probst. Tony played the idol on LJ, believing he was the target, which prompted LJ to play his idol on Tony, ensuring that both men were safe. But it didn’t matter because all the Appari votes went towards Jefra. Well, all but one. While it looked like Appari had outsmarted the Solana alliance, in the final vote, Kass voted for Sarah, sending her home, betraying her alliance, and making Sarah the first member of the jury in one of the most epic tribal councils ever.
Biggest Strength: Sarah’s biggest strength is her challenge ability. She performs well under pressure; she is strong, fast in the water, good at puzzles and overall adaptable to every challenge we’ve seen her compete in.
Biggest Weakness: Sarah’s weakness is her indecisiveness. While I’m sure being the swing vote is never an easy task, Sarah has proven that if you don’t pick a side and move with it, they will turn on you. She is also unwilling to compromise. Had Sarah made a decision earlier on and listened to her allies, Kass may not have flipped, and we would have had an entirely different outcome in Survivor: Cagayan.
Sarah is one of twenty returning castaways who will compete on Survivor: Game Changers which premieres March 8 on CBS. Stay tuned to Inside Survivor for more cast retrospectives and other pre-season content.