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Team Ninja Warrior College Madness recap: The champions are crowned

After the most intense runs we’ve seen, one school rises above the others.

The past four weeks have all led up to this! The University of Georgia, MIT, UCLA and the University of Wisconsin have fought hard to make it to the Team Ninja Warrior: College Madness championships.

After sending 12 other teams home empty handed, these top collegiate Ninjas would fight for the Bronze Buzzer trophy and serious bragging rights.

Facing off in the first rounds:

  • MIT vs Georgia
  • Wisconsin vs UCLA

The Obstacles:

  • Sonic Swing
  • Ring of Fire
  • Swing Jump
  • Floating Tiles
  • NEW: Spin Cycle
  • Warped Wall

We kicked things off with the undefeated MIT vs Georgia, a team that knows how to fight for the comeback.

The Teams:

MIT:

  • Charlie Andrews
  • Amelia Becker
  • Tomas Cabrera

Georgia:

  • Bradley Schleicher
  • Doug Legg
  • Victoria Case

Heat one:

  • Georgia’s Bradley vs MIT’s Charlie

This race started out so very tight. It wasn’t until Bradley got his foot wet on the Swing Jump that Charlie really started to pull ahead. After that, there was no stopping MIT.

Point= MIT

Heat two:

  • Georgia’s Victoria vs MIT’s Amelia

Amelia’s confident start gave her a slight lead, which she then expanded upon. Victoria stumbled and fell on the Floating Tiles, handing the win to MIT. But Amelia never gave up and finished the course regardless.

Point= MIT

Heat three:

  • Georgia’s Doug vs MIT’s Tomas

Doug has a history of saving Georgia in the last heat and it looked like it might happen again with his early lead. However, Doug got hung up on the Ring of Fire and Tomas exploded with speed. He set a course record by finishing in 34 seconds and sent MIT into the next round with their flawless record intact.

Points= MIT

Winner of round one: MIT

Now it was time to watch UCLA, who seemed to dominate on their home turf, take on Wisconsin, a team so flawless and confident it was a little scary.

The Teams:

Wisconsin:

  • Taylor Amann
  • Andrew Philibeck
  • Zack Kemmerer

UCLA:

  • Amanda Adams
  • James Vaughn
  • Carter Allen

Heat one:

  • Wisconsin’s Andrew vs UCLA’s James

Andrew pulled a strong lead early, but James caught up to him on the cargo net of the Swing Jump. It wasn’t quite enough to hold off Andrew who flew up the Warped Wall.

Point= Wisconsin

Heat two:

  • Wisconsin’s Taylor vs UCLA’s Amanda

The women stayed close together at first. Amanda gave Wisconsin a rare taste of panic when she pulled ahead of Amanda and finished the Ring of Fire first. However, she hesitated at the Spin Cycle and Taylor immediately closed the gap. Both women missed their first attempt at the Warped Wall, but Taylor collected herself and nailed the second attempt.

Point= Wisconsin

Heat three:

  • Wisconsin’s Zack vs UCLA’s Carter

Carter had a slip early on the Sonic Swing. There was no chance after that. Zack took off at full speed, but it wouldn’t be needed when Carter fell from the Swing Jump.

Points= Wisconsin

Winner of round two: Wisconsin

So Wisconsin and MIT would hang on to their undefeated records. Both Georgia and UCLA would need to pull out all the stops in the knockout rounds.

Knockout one:

UCLA vs MIT

Heat one:

  • UCLA’s James vs MIT’s Charlie

This heat was incredible. Both James and Charlie knew what was on the line. They were tied at the start. Then Charlie pulled ahead. Then James pulled ahead. They were dead matched on the Warped Wall and hit the buzzer at almost the exact same time.

How “almost exact”? James reached the buzzer 0.01 seconds faster and delivered MIT’s first defeat.

Point= UCLA

Heat two:

  • UCLA’s Amanda vs MIT’s Amelia

Amelia started opening a lead as soon as the bell rang and she worked to widen it. Her only delay was missing the first attempt at the Warped Wall, but it didn’t matter. Amanda missed a swing from Spin Cycle and ended the heat in the water.

Point= MIT

Heat three:

  • UCLA’s Carter vs MIT’s Tomas

The loser of this heat was heading home, while the winner went to championship relay. No pressure.

Carter might have let the pressure get to him, getting tangled up on the Sonic Swing. Tomas was going, going, gone; Setting another course speed record on his way to the win.

Points= MIT

UCLA is OUT!

MIT would advance to the relay race. But would they face Wisconsin or Georgia?

Knockout two:

Georgia vs Wisconsin

Heat one:

  • Georgia’s Bradley vs Wisconsin’s Andrew

Andrew flew through the Ring of Fire. Bradley got delayed on the cargo net of the Swing Jump. It’s a painful lesson to learn that you can NOT give Wisconsin a lead. Andrew was uncontested as he dominated the Warped Wall.

Point= Wisconsin

Heat two:

  • Georgia’s Victoria vs Wisconsin’s Taylor

It was a shock to see Taylor stuck on the Ring of Fire, something that almost never happens for this team. But it didn’t last long, she was able to quickly match Victoria and gain the lead again. There were no mistakes on the Warped Wall this time.

Point= Wisconsin

Heat three:

  • Georgia’s Doug vs Wisconsin’s Zack

Doug had to pull this one out if Georgia was to stay in the game. He stuck as close to Zack as he could. They were almost matched on the Warped Wall, but Zack found the buzzer first.

Points= Wisconsin

Georgia is OUT.

MIT vs Wisconsin in the relay race

The two juggernaut teams would go head to head for the championship title! It doesn’t get more intense than this. MIT, who only had one, very close, loss, against Wisconsin, who remained flawless.

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.

Interestingly, this is the first relay of season where men and women would compete directly on legs of the course.

Wisconsin’s Taylor would start off the race agains MIT’s Tomas. Just before the floating tiles, Taylor would tag in Andrew, and Tomas would bring in Amelia.

After the Warped Wall, Wisconsin’s Zack and MIT’s Charlie would finish out the last three obstacles.

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

The Relay Race:

Tomas is known for speed and it showed. He blew past Taylor to tag in Amelia, giving MIT a two obstacle advantage. Taylor was a little slow on the cargo net but two speedsters remained on her team.

Even though Amelia also tagged in Charlie while Wisconsin was still behind, Andrew and Zack brought the heat, closing the gap.

Zack caught Charlie on the Globe Graspers and even passed him. They hit the rope at the same time. Talk about a nail biter. Wisconsin reached for the buzzer just moments before MIT would hit tag it as well.

The Team Ninja Warrior: College Madness Champions: University of Wisconsin!

The inaugural season of College Madness couldn’t have been more exhilarating. It was anyone’s game until the very last moments.

One thing is for certain, all the members of teams Wisconsin and MIT would make incredible American Ninja Warriors and we better see them again on the course soon!