It feels like every season the women of American Ninja Warrior do something new and historic. It all started in the Season 5 when Jessie Graff qualified for the Venice Beach City Finals (in a chicken costume no less). This was the first time a woman finished the City Qualifier in the top 30. It was just the second time the Warped Wall was ever attempted in competition, Nika Muckelroy attempted it in the Denver City Qualifier.
The following season, was dubbed the "year of the women" by Matt and Akbar. In Season 6, three women not only attempted the Warped Wall, but conquered it. Kacy Catanzaro, Michelle Warnky and Meagan Martin each completed their City Qualifiers. However, Mighty Kacy wasn't done yet, she went on to complete the entire City Finals course. She remains the only woman to ever do so. Season 7 saw a record 41 female ninjas complete at least one obstacle in their City Qualifiers.
Following the success of their inspirations, Season 8 saw tons of new talented women taking on the course. A record 7 women finished inside the top 30 of their City Qualifiers and advanced to the City Finals. Also, for the first time ever 3 women - Jessie Graff, Meagan Martin, and newcomer Jesse Labreck finished inside the top 15 and qualified for the National Finals. These were all great moments of Season 8, but the run for the record books happened on Stage 1, when Jessie Graff demolished Stage 1, and became the first woman to complete a stage in the National Finals.
Which brings us to this season. This season we've seen the women improve in so many different ways. Most amazing of all though, we're only halfway through the field of National Finalists and we already had another female ninja clear Stage 1. Allyssa Beird cruised through the course and finished faster than multi-time Stage 2 veterans Ian Dory and Andrew Lowes! For more on Allyssa's historic performance check out this interview she did with Nikki Lee. And of course watch this video!
The rest of the way the women of Season 9 have been the best yet!
This year we were introduced to the new "women's rules". Which basically took the "Wildcard" spots in National Finals, which were previously handed out at the producers' discretion, and gave them to the top performing females. The 5 top females moved on to the City Finals and the two top females moved on to the National Finals. As such we saw a record number of women take on the City Finals.
However, even if these new rules were not in place we would have seen a record number of female ninjas in the City Finals. Nine women finished inside the top 30 qualifying them according to the "old rules". This is the most women to ever qualify for the City Finals, out doing last years total by 1.
5 of the nine women who finished inside the top 30 this season did so for their first time. Like last season, 2 of the women moving on to the City Finals did so by not only going far enough fast enough, but by outright completing their respective City Qualifier - Allyssa Beird and Jesse Labreck.
It wasn't only these top women who had amazing City Qualifying performances. In total, 16 women reached the 5th obstacle this season. That's twice as many as last season, and last season every woman who reached the 5th obstacle also finished inside the top 30.
Now with the new women's rule we obviously saw a ton more women taking on the City Finals courses. As such, I can't fairly compare this season's results to those of any previous season. So instead here is the complete table of the women who finished inside the top 15 and advanced to the National Finals.
For the first time since Season 6, 3 new women climbed the Warped Wall - Allyssa Beird, Rebakah Bonilla, and Barclay Stockett. The new 14.5 foot wall was no problem for these women who all got up it on their first attempt. Including Barclay who is just 5'0" tall. Making her the shortest competitor (not just woman) to complete the new Warped Wall.
In her first season clearing the Warped Wall, Allyssa Beird has already done so 3 times - City Qualifying, City Finals, and Stage 1. Four of these eight women have yet to take on Stage 1, where they could add to their Warped Wall totals.
Before Monday, only two women, Jessie Graff and Meagan Martin had ever made it through the Jumping Spider (technically Luci Romberg made it through in Sasuke 21, but that was pre-American Ninja Warrior). We're only halfway through the National Finals and already 3 women have beaten the Jumping Spider this Season! The women are destroying Stage 1 so far this season. Barclay Stockett looked like she had the strength to finish, before she timed out just before the last obstacle, Jesse Labreck made the lache to final climb before her arms just gave out (had she not battle the rope on Parkour Run, she likely would have had more than enough strength and time to finish the course.) And of course Allyssa Beird put it all together and completed the course.
As a result, the average number of Stage 1 obstacles completed by women this season is 5.2. This is by far the highest average in the history of the show. In fact, this season's women are on pace to complete more Stage 1 obstacles than the combined total number of Stage 1 obstacles completed by women in the past two seasons.
6 different women have hit buzzers (completed a course) on American Ninja Warrior. This season we've already seen 3 buzzers hit, Allyssa Beird and Jesse Labreck in the Cleveland City Finals and Allyssa on Stage 1. The most buzzers by females in a single season was, 4 set back in Season 6 when the three women cleared their City Qualifiers and Kacy cleared her City Finals course.
Just like with the Warped Wall table, Jessie Graff, Meagan Martin, and Kacy Catanzaro take on Stage 1, so we could see even more buzzers and even more history by women this season!