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Thomas Stillings used some risky tactics to protect his trip to Las Vegas

He dashed through the San Antonio City Finals course to make sure he could head back to the National Finals for a third season.

Thomas Stillings has enjoyed a quick rise to notoriety on American Ninja Warrior. The past two seasons he’s been on the show, he’s made it all the way to Stage Two of the National Finals. Now in just his third season, he’s well on his way to repeating and perhaps succeeding those performances.

In the San Antonio Qualifiers, he completed the course, and had one of the faster times of the night. Only Daniel Gil was faster than him.

In the City Finals, Thomas wanted to fix that and take home the number one position.

He flew through the first half of the course and the Salmon Ladder. On the Hourglass Drop, he knew he needed to trade speed for strategy. The trampoline bounce was a tricky maneuver that would toss anyone who wasn’t fully prepared for it.

Once Thomas nailed the jump, he was right back into his risky ways! He decided to skip the second board entirely, opting instead for a huge lache that almost didn’t pay off. For a moment, it looked like he was heading into the water.

Even Thomas knew how close he’d come to ending his run.

He then moved on to the Speedball Wizard. He again decided to skip the final handlebar and lache to landing pad.

On to the Elevator Climb, Thomas seemed to have a little trouble finding a steady rhythm with the movements. He looked stalled out a few times, taxing his grip.

In the end, while he was SO close to the top of the Climb, he wasn’t able to complete the course.

Even though he was aiming for first, it was a fantastic run that earned him the second place ranking of the night. He’ll have a chance to show off his speed tactics again in Las Vegas.