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American Ninja Warrior Oklahoma City Finals recap: Every single step matters

We were moved and shocked by what OKC had in store for us.

Brett Deering/NBC

The Oklahoma City Finals had us all on the edge of our seats. After the OKC Qualifiers gave us a few new names to talk about, we couldn’t wait to see what the Finals would bring, and we were not disappointed.

Thomas Stillings had an impressive run that fell just short of the buzzer when he couldn’t complete the Invisible Ladder.

Grant Clinton shared his incredible story of recovery before becoming the first finisher of the night.

David Campbell has been on every season of American Ninja Warrior and made it to Vegas every time. But not this year, as he went out on the Bar Hop.

Brent Steffensen will be heading to Vegas again, making his run last all the way to Bungee Road.

Tremayne Dortch wasn’t able to complete the Salmon Ladder and was bumped out of the top 15.

Daniel Gil had a great run, completing the course and landing the fastest time of the night.

Jon Stewart became the oldest Ninja to qualify for the Las Vegas Finals.

Karsten Williams hung on all the way to the Window Hang, knocking friend Tremayne out of the top 15.

Here’s What You Missed:

Course Completions: 2

Ninjas taken out by new obstacle the Window Hang : 5

Ninjas taken out by the Log Runner: 6

What changed from the city qualifiers:

  • Ring Swing: The second swing locks at 90 degrees, reducing momentum for the dismount
  • Tire Swing: Increased distance between the swings

Heartbreaker Moment:

Tremayne Dortch is a top competitor in peak condition. He’s is a devoted family man who competed on Team Ninja Warrior with his wife. Together they have a young son, and were expecting the birth of their daughter during the taping of the Finals.

Tremayne has been on American Ninja Warrior for the last 4 seasons, each time qualifying for the Vegas finals. This being his fifth season, no one expected anything different. He just needed to complete the Salmon Ladder to lock in his trip to the National Finals.

Which is why it was such a shock that he did NOT complete the Salmon Ladder. Tremayne didn’t make it up the classic obstacle, placing himself on the “bubble” in the 15th position with more Ninjas to go.

In the end, his good friend Karsten Williams ended up bumping Tremayne out of the top 15. It was sad to see him go, but he did get to head home to his adorable, growing family.

Going Home!!! #anditbegins #mylove #daddysgirl #inlove

A photo posted by Tremayne Dortch (@themuscle.anw) on

Heart-pounding Moment:

Grant Clinton’s story is the stuff of legends. Just six months before the rookie’s run on American Ninja Warrior, he suffered a stroke, had emergency brain surgery, and spent seven days in the ICU.

He and his family faced the very real possibility that Grant would lose his life. Only about 50% of those afflicted with the type of stoke he had make it through. But Grant did make it.

Now, the story could end here and be thrilling enough. Even stepping on the course after an experience like that is incredible. But Grant had more in mind. He went after the obstacles with the same determination that kept him going during his recovery.

Grant became the first finisher of the night and ended the City Finals as one of only two Ninjas to do so. He locked in his trip to Vegas and left us all inspired to do more.

Lesson of the night: Nothing is a given

The OKC City Finals showed us once again that you can never count on anything in American Ninja Warrior. In a city full of veterans, it was the rookies and new competitors who stole the show. Some tried and true legends like David Campbell and Tremayne Dortch had shocking exits.

This is only Daniel Gil’s second season on the show, yet we have a feeling he’ll be around for quite some time now. Both Thomas Stillings and Grant Clinton are new Ninjas who are rising fast in the ranks.

Even more surprising is the number of Ninjas taken out by the third obstacle, the Log Runner. Six competitors fell here, even though they all had successfully completed the obstacle during the City Qualifiers.

Just proves that every run is unique, every step can make a huge difference, and no Ninja’s success is guaranteed.

Here are the 15 Ninjas advancing to Las Vegas:

  • Daniel Gil
  • Grant Clinton
  • Thomas Stillings
  • Mitch Vedepo
  • Jon Stewart
  • An Ly
  • Thomas Doweidt
  • Karsten Williams
  • Andrew Lowes
  • Brent Steffensen
  • James Wyatt
  • Reid Pletcher
  • Jessell Boseman
  • Clayton Wolf
  • Nate Burkhalter

Brace yourself. American Ninja Warrior is taking a break for three weeks during the Olympics. It will be back on August 22nd, with the Philadelphia City Finals!