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Barclay Stockett carried her emotions with her during Oklahoma City Finals run

We knew she was determined, but this was something else entirely.

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Barclay Stockett’s Oklahoma City Finals run had much more behind it than met the eye on the episode. On the surface, the “Sparkly” Ninja was doing her thing, charging along the course. She toppled the Warped Wall once again and made it all the way to the eighth obstacle, the Crazy Clocks. Her time to that point moved her into the second position on the women’s leaderboard, assuring her third trip to the National Finals.

Behind the scenes, Barclay was fighting to keep on a strong face. Shortly before the filming of the episode, Barclay and her family learned her mother had cancer, and they would be going on a journey they never expected. With that on her mind, and her mom in her heart, Barclay gave it her all.

Barclay spoke to us about the emotions of that night and how she sees the rest of the season shaping up.

“City finals, I felt really good. I never felt pumped. I never felt tired. I got through everything a lot more efficiently than I had in Qualifiers and I was really excited to make it past the Coconut Climb where I’d fallen in the Qualifiers. It’s always really exciting every time we get to the Warped Wall and it also kind of makes me laugh because I only ever get there in City Finals. But to be able to beat the Warped Wall and Salmon Ladder three years in a row in City Finals is really encouraging to me because it means I’m maintaining, at least, skill level and training. Even in the hard times in life, I’m still able to maintain pretty well.”

Brett Deering/NBC

“But falling on the eighth obstacle for the third time in a row was kind of frustrating. I also just feel like I was in a weird head space and wasn’t really even thinking about what I was doing. It’s really discouraging to say that I didn’t put enough effort into it but I think sometimes you do have those moments where you don’t put 100% in every once in awhile and that was one of those times for me. I just wasn’t very mentally strong that night. So I actually did not expect to make it to Vegas. I went kind of early in the night, so I expected several of the girls probably to beat my time there and kind of just barely made it here but I’m really thankful to be here.”

“It’s hard not to see all of this through one lens. I really ... I don’t actually know how it felt. This is about my mom, but I didn’t know if I’d come because we had just found out before competing in OKC about my mom’s cancer, like two weeks before that. So I wasn’t even going to compete there and then she asked me to.”

“I feel like Stage One’s probably going to be pretty similar to the past two years that I’ve done it. We always have our staple obstacles like the Jumping Spider and the Warped Wall, usually have a parkour-ish type of obstacle, or we always have a balance obstacle. I always struggle with the breathing part, the cardio-respiratory part, so I never look forward to that in Vegas especially because of all of the dust. It’s like sandpaper on your throat. It’s terrible. But I’m looking forward to a really fun course and I don’t really know what to expect for Stages Two and Three yet, but I’m expecting a lot of people to get through Two and Three this year.”

“I’m feeling like I’m just going to be a little bit riskier this year. I’ve been ... I really just want to lay it out on the line and just go as fast as possible and not worry too much about falling. Just try to really challenge myself.”

We’re keeping Barclay and her family in our thoughts. We can’t wait to see what she does at the National Finals in a few weeks!