Caroline Cutbirth and Jennifer Kuhle were eliminated from The Amazing Race's 22nd season in fourth place just before the final leg during Sunday night's two-hour broadcast of the CBS reality competition's finale.

The "Friends and Country Singers" team fell short of claiming the $1 million grand prize to "Hockey Brothers" Bates Battaglia and Anthony Battaglia, who were the first team to cross the Race's finish line in Washington D.C. and therefore crowned champions.

"Newlyweds" Max Bichler and Katie Bichler finished in second place, and "Roller Derby Moms" Mona Egender and Beth Bandimere finished third.

In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Monday, Caroline and Jennifer talked about their The Amazing Race experience. Below is the first half of their interview. Check back with Reality TV World soon for the concluding portion.

To read some of what Bates and Anthony had to say, click here. To begin reading our interview with Max and Katie, click here. For the initial portion of Mona and Beth's interview, click here.

Reality TV World: How far behind Mona and Beth do you think you finally arrived at the Pit Stop where you got eliminated?

Jennifer Kuhle: You know, honestly, we don't know. We thought we were so far behind and the flag took us about an hour. And getting lost was another probably hour to an hour-and-a-half.

And that was really the killer because we saw how much they struggled at the other Detour, and ours we went through pretty fast, the graffiti. So you know what? I don't know. It was painful watching it knowing that they struggled and we were closer than we thought.

Caroline Cutbirth: We think that, if we hadn't gotten lost, we think we would've had a pretty good shot at being neck and neck with them. But you know, dang it, we just took the wrong directions!

Reality TV World: Did you girls head to that Pit Stop pretty certain you were in fourth place or did you still have hope you could come in third or even better?

Caroline Cutbirth: We kind of knew. Once we -- I thought, we hoped that once we got out of the bog, we were like, "Okay, we're going to catch up." Once we got lost and we got really lost, I mean, I think we kind of knew at that point -- unless some miracle happened -- that that was it.

Reality TV World: When you say getting "lost," you're talking about when you were trying to find the "Thing With A Ring," correct?

Caroline Cutbirth: Yes.
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Reality TV World: So what exactly happened there I guess, and you said you wasted about an hour looking for it?

Jennifer Kuhle: Yes.. Well you know, we had asked a couple people because the clue just said, "Find the 'Thing With A Ring.'" and we had no idea what that is. So we asked a couple people to use their phones but they didn't have Internet on their phones, and so, we walked in that little store and the guy was just being so confident that he knew what that was... So we just trusted him.

Reality TV World: Jennifer, could you talk a little bit about why you struggled so much with that swimming in the marsh task? How close did you actually come to quitting?

Jennifer Kuhle: Oh, I didn't want to get back in at all. After the first time I went in there, I was like, "There's no way." And I'm not a quitter. I always try something until I can finish it, but I thought physically, I was not going to be able to do it. Because I was so cold, like once you get in the first time, if I hadn't screwed up -- if I had just pressed the end of the thing and then gone back -- I would've been fine.

But I like got out and got up on this block and then to get back in, I was frozen. My hands were numb, my feet were numb, my body was cramping, my wetsuit was choking me. It was just really awful.

I'm so claustrophobic too, I mean, you're snorkeling and you can't breathe because you had to breathe the whole time in the snorkel. But there's like mud and stuff going in the snorkel, so you're like breathing in mud and stuff. And so ontop of all the other things, you couldn't breathe.

Reality TV World: That sounds fantastic. (Laughs)

Jennifer Kuhle: (Laughs) It was really hard!

Caroline Cutbirth: It was just right up Jen's alley!

Reality TV World: As you had mentioned, you girls were the only team to attempt the Graffiti Detour task. So after watching last night's episode, do you think you made the right choice? Had you done the Titanic dinner-service one instead, do you think it could've changed the outcome of your elimination?

Caroline Cutbirth: I think choosing the graffiti was a great choice, because the Titanic -- even when Max and Katie, they did it pretty quickly and got all the instructions right. It still took them a long time and it was really frustrating, and every single team struggled with that.

I think we could've like breezed through the graffiti and I think if we wouldn't have gotten lost and we chose the graffiti while Mona and Beth were doing the Titanic, I think it could've been a different ball game. So we definitely made the right choice with the Detour.

Reality TV World: Bates and Anthony told us they thought Mona and Beth were the most competitive, threatening team they had raced against all season. They weren't happy when they learned they'd be racing against those girls instead of you two in the finale. Does it surprise you the boys found Mona and Beth a bigger threat than you two or do you see that perspective?

Jennifer Kuhle: You know, that doesn't surprise me. It's funny watching it back on television. Because when we were racing, we thought Mona and Beth were really tough too, and they were tough.

But we didn't realize that we were tough too... and I think when you're out there racing, you think you're the only one that that's happening to, you know? So it's just interesting. I don't know. That's what makes the Race so neat, is that anybody could win.

Reality TV World: I'm sure a lot of the other teams didn't predict you girls would have made it as far as you did. Do you think the rest of the teams maybe underestimated you two a little bit during the Race?

Caroline Cutbirth: I think that was probably our strength though just because I think we were pretty non-threatening, and people were never really worried about us, so it's not like people are out to get us. Because I mean, I think we came across as really non-threatening. So yeah, I think probably everyone underestimated us.

Jennifer Kuhle: And we were super friendly too. We were talking to them and people probably thought we weren't taking it super seriously, but we were! It was just that we were nice too. (Laughs)

Reality TV World: You guys raced side by side with Bates and Anthony for many of the season's legs. Could you talk about your reasoning for that? Was it strategic on your part because you knew they were a strong team and so maybe they could help get you to the end or was it simply that you guys had all become great friends?

Jennifer Kuhle: It's so funny that people think that. A lot of people have said that, like, "Oh you guys were just riding on Bates and Anthony." But I mean, if anything, we helped them way more than they helped us. (Laughs)

They never knew where they were going. They got lost so many times. We got them on flights -- earlier flights -- and we really, I mean, we just really liked them. It wasn't that we thought they were going to help us win, we just really liked them.

We liked them and Max and Katie and [Chuck McCall] and [Wynona McCall]. And in the beginning when there's a bunch of teams, you kind of like [channel] The Hunger Games a little bit out there. So it was nice to have friends!

Reality TV World: It's funny you say that, Jen, because when I spoke with Bates and Anthony earlier, they said that you girls actually helped them out in the Race more than they helped you. But most of the teams this season agreed Bates and Anthony were one of -- if not "the" -- biggest threat but your alliance never U-Turned them or tried to get them out. Looking back, do you wish you had targeted them when you had the chance, especially since they ended up winning the whole thing? Do you kind of regret helping them so much?

Caroline Cutbirth: I think we absolutely don't regret our alliance with them. You know, they were really strong, but they also made a ton of mistakes. There were a lot of times they could've gotten out.

So, and I think that's the thing with the Race, is so many strong teams were eliminated in the first few rounds. So it really doesn't always matter how strong you are. And I think that, like Jen was saying, this is a journey that is such a crazy experience. And we formed such great friendships with them, and it just made it so much more enjoyable.

So, and then we knew at the end, we were going to have to race for ourselves. But I think Jen and I felt like we could hold our own, you know? If we got to the Final 3, which we were hoping, I think we felt like we would be able to hold our own against them. Because there's just so many variables that come into play.

Above is the first half of Caroline and Jennifer's exclusive interview with Reality TV World. Check back with us soon for the concluding portion.

To read some of what Bates and Anthony had to say, click here. To begin reading our interview with Max and Katie, click here. For the initial portion of Mona and Beth's interview, click here.

About The Author: Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.