And then there was one.
After three weeks and more than 350,000 votes, Sandra Glaser Cheek of Ruckus Wireless is the champion and last woman standing in the 2016 CRN Channel Madness Tournament of Chiefs.
Her opponent in the final round, AT&T's Brooks McCorcle, garnered enough votes that she would have won last year's championship round, but it wasn't enough to win this year, and it was Cheek who dominated the championship matchup.
Cheek got off like a shot and took an early lead. McCorcle found herself trailing and rallied to double her votes in the final 24 hours, but it wasn't enough to make up much ground against Cheek's formidable defense. Cheek held strong to grab the crown with 83 percent of the vote.
Although she's been with Ruckus only since September, Cheek is already making her mark at the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based vendor. Fans credit her with providing strength and leadership to the already well-loved Ruckus channel strategy.
Gordon Martin, president of Tulsa, Okla.-based Peak UpTime -- a leading cloud strategic service provider in the Southeast -- said he is not surprised Cheek won the CRN Channel Madness contest. In fact, Peak UpTime rates its channel partnerships and the work Cheek has done at Ruckus in the top tier.
"Sandra is the cream of the crop, one of the top channel leaders in the business," he said. "She is very good at seeing things through the prism and lens of the solution provider, while at the same time staying firm on what the value is for the manufacturer."
Solution providers also lauded Cheek for having both vision and the ability to execute on that vision.
"She has great ideas and has the mind share of management [at Ruckus] to help execute them," said Gary Berzack, chief technology officer and chief operating officer of eTribeca, a New York-based solution provider and Ruckus partner. "She's embraced the company and is looking to help with organic growth."
Cheek brings a certainty to the partner-vendor relationship that is sometimes missing with other vendors, said Martin. "Her yes means yes and her no means no," said Martin, noting that some channel chiefs put off partners with a "we'll look into that" response.