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Watch Nicole Martinez school the Indianapolis qualifying course

Plus Nicole teaches us about how she punched a ticket to the city finals

Michael Hickey/NBC

Nicole Martinez is a name to watch in this season of American Ninja Warrior. After failing to advance past the second obstacle in her previous two attempts, this teacher soared all the way to the Spin Hopper. That was strong enough to place her in the top 30 overall Ninjas, securing a spot in the city finals. Check out Nicole’s full run in the video below:

We also had the chance to talk to Nicole about her impressive performance before the City Final action. Here’s what she had to say about her first run of the season and the grueling Indianapolis course.

Thinking back to last night, how were you feeling?

I was really excited. I was ready. This course is something that really fit my strengths. I love upper body obstacles and so I was really excited to be able to get out there and show the nation what I was capable of.

You got to watch a few people run before you went. How did that make you feel? Did it add to nerves or did it detract?

Sometimes I watch people run before me and I get nervous, but this year I’ve taken a different approach and decided to do my own thing. I was really excited to watch all the people who had gotten so far but I was also ready for my chance on the course. So it kind of just excited me more than anything.

Can you tell us about how the Wheel Flip felt for you?

As soon as I saw the Wheel Flip, I wanted to touch it. I’m a cross-fitter and it reminded me of this one cross fit implement called “the pig” from the cross fit games, only you flip it on the ground. I’m powerful and wanted to do it so I was super stoked.

This is your third season on the show. Before this season you hadn’t made it past the second obstacle but this year you made it all the way to the fifth obstacle. Tell us a bit about that.

As soon as I cleared the cannonball drop, I was so stoked. I was like “Yes, thank you! Finally I can touch the back half of the course!” The fifth obstacle was a little different texture than what I was anticipating and I couldn’t really get my hands the right consistency to grab onto the pills very well and I was a little bit pumped.

What is your strategy for the fifth obstacle in the city finals?

Make sure that my hands are a little tacky just by making sure they’re clean and not super dry and then also just move fast. I feel great, I feel ready (for the finals).