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Team Ninja Warrior College Madness recap: The battle for SoCal pride

The college rivalries got heated in this week’s episode.

Team Ninja Warrior: College Madness is on a roll now! As we move into week three of the qualifiers, we’ve had upsets, shocking falls, and wins worthy of a standing ovation. This week was no different as we watched a deep college rivalry play out on the course.

The match ups:

  • UCLA vs USC
  • Stanford vs Colorado

As always, a refresher on the Team Ninja rules is at the bottom of this article.

The Obstacles:

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

We kicked things off with UCLA vs USC, the Southern California rivalry.

The Teams:


  • Amanda Adams
  • James Vaughan
  • Carter Allen


  • Antonio Ayala
  • Noelle Crowley
  • Julian Olea

Heat One:

  • UCLA’s Carter vs USC’s Julian

Carter dove for the early lead, but it looked like they were tied up by the Swing Jump. Julian pulled ahead for a fairly strong lead, but he paused before the Warped Wall to dry his feet. That moment gave Carter a chance to bolt up the wall and get the point.

Point= UCLA

Heat Two:

  • UCLA’s Amanda vs USC’s Noelle

It was a bit of a rough start for the women. Both got stuck on the Ring of Fire, but Amanda was able to free herself first. Noelle took a plunge from the Swing Jump, ending the heat.

Point= UCLA

Heat Three:

  • UCLA’s James vs USC’s Antonio

James and Antonio were tied up until James pulled ahead on the Pole Grasper. Antonio wasn’t able to match his speed, and UCLA swept the first match up.

Points= UCLA

Winner of Round One: UCLA

Up next, Stanford faced Colorado.

The Teams:


  • Roshena MacPherson
  • Will Roderick
  • Nam Cuong


  • Alexandra Regenold
  • Matt Normile
  • Bobby Reedy

Heat One:

  • Stanford’s Will vs Colorado’s Matt

Well, this is a quick one. Matt wiped out on the first obstacle.

Point= Stanford

Heat Two:

  • Stanford’s Roshena vs Colorado’s Alexandra

Both women were off to a bit of a slow start, showing hesitation on the Sonic Swing. They made it through, but Roshena ended up in the water while navigating the Ring of Fire.

Point= Colorado

Heat Three:

  • Stanford’s Nam vs Colorado’s Bobby

Nam charged ahead for a strong lead, but the Pole Grasper slowed him down and allowed Bobby to catch up. That gave Nam a little extra motivation and he completed the Warped Wall first.

Points= Stanford

Winner of round two: Stanford

UCLA would face Colorado in the first knockout round.

Knockout One:

Heat One:

Colorado’s Matt vs UCLA’s Carter

Carter got his feet wet on the Sonic Swing, which is always a problem, but he was able to catch Matt at the Pole Grasper. The men were in a dead tie at the Warped Wall, but Matt missed his first attempt and Carter seized the point.

Point= UCLA

Heat Two:

  • Colorado’s Alexandra vs UCLA’s Amanda

Once again, the Pole Grasper was the obstacle to watch. Alexandra had a strong lead until she slowed down here, letting Amanda catch up. Both women then had some trouble with the Warped Wall. Alexandra and Amanda failed their three attempts, but as Alexandra arrived at the wall first, she received the point.

Point= Colorado

Heat Three:

  • Colorado’s Bobby vs UCLA’s James

Bobby and James stuck close together for most of the course. James took the lead coming off the Pole Grasper and snagged the essential last two points.

Points= UCLA

UCLA moves on to the relay race.

Colorado is OUT!

Knockout Two

Heat One:

  • Stanford’s Will vs USC’s Julian

Will took a big jump off the Sonic Swing to gather a lead, but once again, the Pole Grasper proved to be a sticky mire. Julian was able to fight through the poles for the lead and push up the Warped Wall first.

Point= USC

Heat Two:

  • Stanford’s Roshena va USC’s Noelle

Roshena took her second swim of the competition, giving Noelle the point.

Point= USC

Heat Three:

  • Stanford’s Nam vs USC’s Antonio

Both got their feet wet early on the course, but Antonio got stuck in the water and was disqualified. This tied up the teams and forced a sudden death round.

Points= Stanford

Sudden Death Round:

  • Stanford’s Nam vs USC’s Julian

Nam started off strong until the Pole Grasper caused a speed bump. Julian flew past Nam and straight up the Warped Wall.

Point= USC

Stanford is OUT.

USC would go on to the relay run against UCLA, bringing the rivals head to head again.

UCLA vs USC 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.

UCLA’s Amanda and USC’s Noelle would take the first leg.

Just before the Floating Tiles, they would tag in UCLA’s Carter and USC’s Antonio.

Once they completed the Warped Walls, UCLA’s James and USC’s Julian would take on the final three obstacles.

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

Relay Race

Amanda and Noelle tied at the start, with both of them getting stuck on the Ring of Fire. Noelle was able to free herself first and tag in Antonio.

Amanda was a bit behind, meaning Carter had a lot of ground to make up. He was able to do that on the Pole Grasper, completing the Warped Wall and tagging in James.

Julian was tagged in shortly behind James, but Julian hit the trampoline to the Dueling Salmon Ladders at the wrong angle. This sent him straight into the water and sent UCLA to the championships.

UCLA moves on to the championships!

Next week, the final four teams will battle for a place in the championships.

  • Michigan vs Ohio State
  • Wisconsin vs Maryland


  • 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.