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American Ninja Warrior Season 8 episode recap: Your favorite show is back

Here's the need to know info from the June 1st premiere episode.

Daniel McFadden/NBC

Welcome to Season 8 of American Ninja Warrior. Los Angeles did not disappoint. Aside from epic runs by legends like Flip Rodriguez and Kevin Bull, some impressive rookies complete the course, including Chris Workman, who held the fastest course time for a period during the night. But it was definitely ladies night in Los Angeles, as Jessie Graff and Natalie Duran made it into the top 30 and are heading to city finals!

Here’s What You Missed

Course Completions: 17

Ninjas taken out by new obstacle Tic Toc: 6

Ninjas taken out by the classic I Beam Cross: 4

Heartbreaker Moment:

Tiana Webberley, who trains with Flip Rodriguez was the first woman of the night to make it to the I Beam Cross. She looked like she was also going to be the first woman to defeat it, until her fingertips gave out the very last moment, sending her into the water.

Heart-pounding Moment:

That moment goes to Jessie Graff, who became the first woman to complete the Los Angeles Qualifying Course this season when she hit the buzzer on top of the now 6 inches taller Warped Wall. It seems like the professional stunt woman is just getting stronger and stronger every time we see her run, which leaves us more than a little anxious to see her City Finals run.

Lesson of the Night: Lead with your heart

We all know that success for a Ninja isn't just about hitting the buzzer. It's about stepping on the course despite anything you might have faced in your past. The Los Angeles qualifying course exemplified this with more than a few touching stories. There was Steven Seiver, an Air Force veteran, who overcame alcohol addiction and runs for his sons. The Eskimo Ninja, Nick Hanson, has inspired confidence in so many kids back in his small village of Unalakleet, Alaska. Flip Rodriguez brought along his "Tadpoles," the amazing little Ninjas he trains. Kevin Bull had support on the sideline from C.A.P. (Children's Alopecia Project). What they all had in common? Leading with your heart seemed to lead to amazing runs.


The kids that came out to cheer for Kevin Bull were just downright adorable. We can't get over the gal who said kids who have alopecia should celebrate with a dab. Like C.A.P. on Facebook to learn more about their mission, and get inspiration from those strong, funny kids!

Here’s 20 of the Ninjas you'll see at the Los Angeles City Finals!

  • Adam Rayl
  • Ben Melick
  • Brian Kretsch
  • Christopher Workman
  • David "Flip" Rodriguez
  • Gabe Hurtado
  • Grant McCartney
  • Jesse Cargil
  • Jessie Graff
  • Josh Levin
  • Justin Hillsten
  • Kevin Bull
  • Liam Buell
  • Natalie Duran
  • Nicholas Coolridge
  • Nick Hanson
  • Ryan Robinson
  • Sean Bryan
  • Stephen Seiver
  • Ted Jung

Up next, we have the Atlanta Qualifying episode in one week! We'll be catching up with the likes of Drew Dreschel and JJ Woods.