After 38 days of playing it cool while quietly strategizing, Ashley Underwood, a UMaine alum and native of Benton, was voted off “Survivor: Redemption Island” on the final episode of the season. The season finale was broadcast Sunday night on CBS.

The final three, after Underwood was voted off, included “Boston” Rob Mariano, 19-year-old Natalie Tenerelli, the youngest contestant in “Survivor” history, and Phillip Sheppard. In the end, Mariano took home the title of the last survivor and won $1 million after appearing on three earlier seasons of “Survivor” and on “The Amazing Race,” losing all the other times. The final episode was followed by a reunion show in New York City at which Underwood and her parents and siblings were present.

Underwood, who played basketball for UMaine and is a former Miss Maine, was an early favorite among the 18 starting contestants. She is a school nurse and is still an avid athlete, and her physical skills helped her during the many challenges she faced during the season. Debate raged on “Survivor” online messageboards as to whether Underwood was simply not interested in being an aggressive player, or whether she was keeping cool in order to slip through to the final rounds.

According to an article published in the Kennebec Journal last week, Ashley’s father, Chuck Underwood, said that family and friends have been gathering each week at Ashley’s brother Justin’s house to watch each episode.

The last Mainer on the show was Bob Crowley, a bow-tied physics teacher from South Portland who became a statewide celebrity when he emerged as the winner in 2008. Before that, “Timber” Tina Scheer was on in 2006.

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Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.