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Utahn, former Major League Mormon on 25th season of 'Survivor'

Published: Monday, Sept. 24 2012 5:18 p.m. MDT

The 18 castaways are set to compete in "Survivor: Philippines", as the 25th installment of the Emmy Award-winning reality series premiered with a special 90-minute edition on Wednesday, Sept. 19.

Monty Brinton, CBS Broadcasting Inc.

Although Angie Layton's tribe lost the immunity and reward challenge on the third day of the competition and headed to tribal council, the Provo resident and other members of her tribe voted off Zane Knight, 28, of Virginia, during last Wednesday's premiere of "Survivor: Philippines."

The 15 castaways were divided into three tribes — Kalabaw, Matsing and Tandang — and three former "Survivor" contestants who had to leave the competition for medical reasons each joined a tribe.

Russell Swan, 45, who was on "Survivor: Samoa," is on the Matsing tribe, which includes Layton. Michael Skupin, 50, who was on “Survivor: The Australian Outback" and was evacuated because of burns when he fell into a fire, is on the Tandang tribe.

Jonathan Penner, 50, who was on “Survivor: Cook Islands” and “Survivor: Micronesia,” is on the Kalabaw tribe, which includes former Major League Baseball player Jeff Kent, who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

As the show opened, the castaways were on a boat. After tribal assignments were made, they had to collect as many of the supplies on the boat as possible and then take a raft to their beach.

While untying the raft, Kent said he may have injured his knee, but was trying to keep the possible injury from his tribe mates as to not make himself a target. His knee didn't appear to have any impact on the challenge as his tribe came from behind to win both immunity and a reward of a fire-making kit.

Kent, 44, who lives in Texas, also avoided telling his fellow Kalabaw tribe members about playing baseball, instead telling them about his ranch and how he submitted a motocross tape to audition for the show.

However, a tribe member did recognize Kent but didn't point out his former occupation to anyone, saying she would keep that information to herself for the time being.

Each six-member tribe is on a different beach.

Layton, who was Miss Teen Utah in 2010 and was third runner-up in the national Miss Teen competition, said in an interview before the episode aired that mentally, being on "Survivor" is tougher than pageants.

The 20-year-old Layton said her strategy was "to be a friend and to be myself. Naturally, I'm very easy to get along with."

Layton, who is a student at the Art Institute of Salt Lake City majoring in fashion retail management, said she prepared to be on the show by working out twice a day and working with her father to learn survival skills, like making a fire from flint, steel and wood. The only thing she didn't practice was swimming in open water.

During the episode, others on Layton's tribe were able to start a fire when she was doing other preparations. It was a rainy first three days on the island.

The immunity and reward challenge on Day 3 included dividing each team into three sets of pairs, with one pair running and climbing a rope ladder to get paddles out of a case and then handing them off to another pair. The second pair would paddle out to where chests of puzzles pieces were sunk and then bring the chest back to the beach. The third pair would then put together the puzzle.

Kent's knee didn't appear to bother him while he did the second leg of the challenge. Layton offered to run in the first leg for her team but was assigned to do the puzzle, despite telling her tribe she didn't like puzzles.

Layton, who is also Mormon and attends a young single adult ward in Provo, told the Deseret News, "Going into it, I was proud of being an LDS girl. It's who I am."

She is the youngest of five brothers and a sister, and was planning to have a premiere party with her family.

"I proved to myself that I could do it and that was the biggest accomplishment," Layton said of being on the show. "I felt like I did my best."

"Survivor: Philippines" airs Wednesday evenings on CBS.

Email: rappleye@desnews.com

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