While the second episode of American Ninja Warrior: Ninja vs Ninja gave us incredibly close races, there was one clear winner of the night: the Labreckfast Club.
The team, captained by Jesse Labreck, swept the night. Against both Team Tarzan and Dark Horse, the Labreckfast Club won all six of their heats, sending them to the playoffs.
We caught up with Jesse, Chris DiGangi and Jon Alexis Jr. by email after the dust had settled to find out how they felt about their epic debut this season.
What’s your favorite aspect of the new Ninja vs Ninja format?
JL: I love that you win as a team and lose as a team. It no longer comes down to one person for that tie breaker, you have to work together.
CD: I really like the relay aspect of the Ninja vs. Ninja format because it means you really have to perform well as a team to advance and even if you make a mistake in the individual races, you have a chance to make up for it during the relay.
JA: Having equal points for each round really makes the new Ninja vs Ninja format a team effort. Making it to the relays is a trade-off, it means you lost an earlier race but tagging off to teammates looks like so much fun!
What makes the Labreckfast Club special to you?
JL: The Labreckfast Club is special to me because Jon and I have been friends for almost 12 years now – his dad was my coach, we were teammates in high school, and he’s the reason I applied for “American Ninja Warrior.” And obviously Chris is a huge part of my life now! We’ve been together for a year and a half, we moved to IL together, and are able to experience everything with each other now, including Ninja vs Ninja!
CD: The Labreckfast Club is special to me, not just because the captain happens to be my girlfriend, but because we’re all really close friends so there never feels like too much pressure because we all just want to see each other succeed.
JA: Labreckfast Club has the word fast in the name - we all have a track and field background. In high school, I first met (Jesse) Labreck in indoor track, and we traveled to our first Ninja gym together in 2014. She and Chris are the cutest Ninja couple and our team chemistry is on point.
Which run of the night run did you think was the most exciting and why?
JL: The 2 runs that were most exciting were Chris and Karson, and Jon and Lance. Both were so close and it’s so fun to watch my teammates on the back half!
CD: Not to sound biased, but my run against Karson Voiles was my favorite because it was so close right to the end and you could tell both of us gave everything we had to get up that zig-zag climb! After hitting the buzzer we both just collapsed trying to catch our breath because we both pushed each other so hard the entire race.
JA: Close races are so intense, and Chris and Karson had an out-of-your-seat, jaw-dropper matchup!
How did you celebrate moving on to the playoffs?
CD: We were so excited to move on to the playoffs. I celebrated by going back to the competitor tent and grabbing a big cup of trail mix and then going back out to watch more of my friends go head to head!
JA: I celebrated moving on to the playoffs by treating myself to a massage and a couple ice baths.
The Labreckfast Club will return later in the season for the playoffs. Will they be able to maintain their winning streak?