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Team Ninja Warrior College Madness recap: The Cinderella story you wanted to see

Close runs, shocking upsets and something to cheer about.

Just in time to help you think about working off those Thanksgiving calories, Team Ninja Warrior: College Madness returns!

The second episode brought us:

  • Texas A&M vs Oklahoma
  • UConn vs MIT

If you need a refresher on how the rules and points system of Team Ninja Warrior are laid out, jump to the bottom of this article!

The Obstacles:

  • Sonic Swing
  • Ring of Fire
  • Swing Jump
  • Floating Tiles
  • Pole Grasper
  • Warped Wall

Let’s get into the action.

First up, we had Texas A&M going head to head with Oklahoma.

The Teams:

Texas A&M

  • Collin Hummel
  • Will Smithee
  • Kaiti Haymaker


  • Taylor Neitsch
  • Candace Caldwell
  • Reese Tomberlin

Heat One:

  • Oklahoma’s Reese vs A&M’s Collin

Reese took a strong lead, but got his feet wet on the Swing Jump. Collin also had a little splash, so both boys were running in wet shoes. Reese got to the Pole Grasper first, but got stuck and was disqualified by falling totally in the water.

However, Collin needed to finish the Pole Grasper if he wanted the point, as Reese was the first to arrive at the obstacle. When he fell, the point went to Oklahoma.

Point= Oklahoma

Heat Two:

  • Oklahoma’s Candace vs A&M’s Kaiti

Kaiti took the lead right away and didn’t let up. But her strength was a bit of a moot point when Candace went out on the first obstacle.

Point= Texas A&M

Heat Three:

  • Oklahoma’s Taylor vs A&M’s Will

Will leapt out for the lead, while Taylor lagged behind with a bit of a splash. Will reached the Pole Grasper first. Taylor tried to make up time, but his speed made him miss a grab and his run ended.

Points= Texas A&M

Winner of round one: Texas A&M

Next, UConn faced MIT (Akbar will remind us several times during the episode that MIT isn’t known for sports.)

The Teams:


  • Luke Adams
  • Perry Madison
  • Jade Sharkany


  • Charlie Adams
  • Amelia Becker
  • Tomas Cabrera

Charlie is good friends with American Ninja Warrior Josh Levin, who came out to support the team.

Heat One:

  • UConn’s Luke vs MIT’s Charlie

After a close start, Charlie pulled ahead on the Ring of Fire and never looked back.

Point= MIT

Heat Two:

  • UConn’s Jade vs MIT’s Amelia

Amelia had a bit of a scare on the rope transition from Sonic Swing, but managed to recover. Jade had a commanding lead by the Floating Tiles, but the women met up on the Pole Grasper. Amelia’s climbing background kicked into high gear and she managed to finish the obstacle first, and make it up the Warped Wall on her first try.

Point= MIT

Heat Three:

  • UConn’s Perry vs MIT’s Tomas

The men were head to head until the Swing Jump. Tomas found some rocket fuel apparently, because he started tearing the down the course. His jump into the Pole Grasper put him halfway through the obstacle and he flew up the Warped Wall.

Points= MIT

Winner of round two: MIT

No sudden death rounds here. Texas A&M would face UConn in the knockout round. While MIT would go against Oklahoma. On the line was the trip to relay round.

Knockout One

Round One:

  • UConn’s Luke vs A&M’s Collin

Luke grabbed a very small lead at the start, but the men stuck close together. It was only when Collin failed on the Pole Grasper that the win became clear.

Point= UConn

Round Two:

  • UConn’s Jade vs A&M’s Kaiti

Jade nabbed the lead, while, unfortunately, Kaiti was disqualified on the Swing Jump.

Point= UConn

Round Three:

  • UConn’s Perry vs A&M’s Will

Texas needed to make it happen this round to avoid going home, and Will was the man to help them. He crushed the course in 38 seconds, forcing a sudden death round.

Points= Texas A&M

Sudden Death

  • UConn’s Luke vs A&M’s Will

Will headed right back on the course to see if he could pull off another impressive finish. Luke got a little tied up on the Ring of Fire, giving Will the room he needed to recover from a close call on the Pole Grasper.

Point= Texas A&M

University of Connecticut is OUT.

Knockout Two

Round One:

  • Oklahoma’s Reese vs MIT’s Charlie

The men were so close together until a hard dismount from the Ring of Fire sent Reese into the water. Charlie took the opportunity to practice the course and finished his run, hitting the buzzer.

Point= MIT

Round Two:

  • Oklahoma’s Candace vs MIT’s Amelia

Following Reese, Candace also went out on the Ring of Fire. Like Charlie, Amelia didn’t let that stop her from going on to hit the buzzer.

Point= MIT

Round Three:

  • Oklahoma’s Taylor vs MIT’s Tomas

Pressure was high in this round. Oklahoma HAD to get a win to stay in it. Taylor and Tomas stayed close until again Tomas hit the gas at the Swing Jump. Taylor would then get disqualified on the same obstacle while Tomas finished the course.

Points: MIT

Oklahoma is OUT.

Texas A&M vs MIT in the relay run

In the relay, all three team members will be on the course at the same time. Each will complete three obstacles, meaning the course is extended. It’s up to each team to decide which member runs when.

The race started with A&M’s Collin vs MIT’s Tomas.

At the Swing Jump, they looked to tag in A&M’s Kaiti and MIT’s Amelia.

Once the women complete the Warped Wall, they would send A&M’s Will and MIT’s Charlie to face the three additional obstacles.

  • Dueling Salmon Ladders
  • Globe Graspers
  • 40 foot Final Climb

Relay Race

Tomas gave MIT a healthy lead, while Collin fell on Swing Jump. This incured a 5 second penalty before Kaiti could start her run. She gave it everything she he and caught up to Amelia on the Pole Grasper, but Amelia was able to tag in Charlie first, unleashing a strong climber on all upper-body obstacles.

Charlie reached the final climb before Will. While both looked exhausted, Charlie completed the climb first for MIT’s SEVENTH straight buzzer of the day.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology moves on the the championships!

Akbar finally admits MIT might have a few athletes in the student body.

Next week:

  • UCLA vs USC
  • Stanford vs Colorado


  • There are three Ninjas on each team.
  • Competitors from each team run the course side by side.
  • The first two heats are worth one point each. The third heat, also called the anchor run, is worth two points. If there is a tie after that, they’ll go into a sudden death heat.
  • The first round winner will then face the first round loser in a knockout round of three heats.
  • The winners of the knockout round will then face off in a relay race to move on to the championships!
  • Touching the water is allowed as long as you don’t lose your grip on the obstacle entirely.