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Atlanta City Finals recap: Give it time, you’ll get there

The Atlanta City Finals proved what can happen if you never give up.

Quantrell Colbert/NBC

We’re in the thick of it now! Need a refresher on what happened during the Atlanta Qualifiers? Check here.

American Ninja Warrior headed back to Atlanta for the second of the City Finals courses. In true Ninja Warrior style, things were tougher on the extended course. While the Flying Monkey Bars proved to be difficult, it didn’t stop four Ninjas from going for the buzzer.

James McGrath beat out his rival and roommate Drew Drechsel for the fastest time of the night.

But don’t worry. Drew was right behind him by a few seconds.

Casey Suchocki didn’t make it to the buzzer, but did get a trip to Vegas, which means more of his amazing skills and grandpa.

We all cried a little when the charismatic #FarmerNinja Caleb Watson went out on second obstacle, the Big Dipper.

Neil Craver’s run wasn’t quite as crazy as in Qualifying, but he still moves on to Vegas.

Here’s What You Missed:

Course Completions: 4

Ninjas taken out by new obstacle the Clacker: 3

Ninjas taken out by the Flying Monkey Bars: 8

What changed from the city qualifiers:

  • Big Dipper: Longer track to slide. No cargo net on landing.
  • Pipe Fitter: Middle pipes restricted to reduce swing and momentum.

Heartbreaker Moment:

Joey Green II has the heart it takes to be a Ninja Warrior. The rookie shared the story of spending 3 years dedicated to adopting his young nephew, Brandon, after his sister couldn’t care for him anymore and he was placed in foster care.

Now he thinks of Brandon more as a son than a nephew. Ninja Warrior is something they’ve worked towards together with Joey training and Brandon cheering him on.

It stung to see Joey go out after 3 attempts up the Warped Wall. That beast is all about strategy and sometimes the new competitors aren’t quite sure of the best approach.

While he won’t be in Vegas, we hope to see Joey next season, as this impressive and dedicated man deserves another shot!

Heart-pounding Moment:

It’s a tie! This week we couldn’t decide between Travis Rosen and Brett Sims’ runs.

Travis is a 41-year-old Ninja who has competed on American Ninja Warrior 6 times and every time he’s made it to the Vegas finals. However, he was feeling a little shaky about his skills this season and had even considered retiring. He quickly realized how silly that would have been as he was the first Ninja to clear the course, sending himself back to Vegas for lucky trip number 7.

Brett Sims’ is almost the opposite case from Travis. He’s competed on American Ninja Warrior 6 times, and has MISSED the chance to go to Vegas 6 times. But this was the year for the newly-wed (who’s wife says she taught him everything he knows). He put all his previous mental mistakes behind him and hit the buzzer after a flawless run.

Lesson of the night: Stick around, things are just getting good.

Travis Rosen and Brett Sims both celebrated their seventh season on American Ninja Warrior. Their longevity and vastly different experiences are a testament to what a genuine community this is.

Travis has made it to the Vegas Finals every time he’s competed. He’s never brought home a million bucks, but he also has no interest in slowing his quest.

Brett has never made it to the Vegas Finals. But that hasn’t stopped him. He’s continued to train, improve and push himself. This year, it’s all paying off.

What keeps these contestants coming back? Aside from the challenge itself, it’s the community that keeps them together. Travis frequently trains with other Ninjas. Brett just married a fellow Ninja Warrior. No one is on the journey alone and no one wants to see a competitor give up.

Once you’re in, you’re in. For the rest of us, that means we get more time to understand and cheer for our Ninja heroes.

Here’s the 15 Ninjas making their way to Las Vegas:

  • James McGrath
  • Drew Drechsel
  • Travis Rosen
  • Brett Sims
  • Casey Suchocki
  • Shawn Richardson
  • Jojo Bynum
  • Neil Craver
  • Tyler Martin
  • Chris Boehm
  • Yuri Force
  • Mike Chick
  • Alexio Gomes
  • Mack Roesch
  • Todd Bourgeois

Were you surprised by any of the results? Shocked Drew didn’t take the fastest time of the night? Tell us in the comments.

Next week we’re going back to Indianapolis! Wolfpack members Meagan Martin, Ian Dory and Brian Arnold will be looking to earn their spot in Vegas.