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A four-year-old fan convinced Grant McCartney to get serious on the course

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He’s setting the shenanigans aside to get the job done.

American Ninja Warrior Grant McCartney has missed out on the National Finals for the past two seasons. Last season by just ONE spot. That means had his runs been just a little bit faster, or a little bit farther, he would have made it. No one wants a repeat of that for season 11 less than Grant himself.

Returning to the course in the Cincinnati Qualifiers, Grant vowed to not waste any precious moments dancing or playing around the course. He was there to get things done. You can watch his full run above.

After setting a pace to the Slingshot that pushed him into the City Finals, Grant carefully completed the obstacle and opted to step up to the Mega Wall. The 18-foot behemoth hadn’t been completed that night, and after Grant’s first failed attempt, we worried it wouldn’t be. But Grant got it done on the second round, becoming the only Mega Wall finisher of the night.

We spoke to Grant after his Qualifying run. Turns out, we might have a four-year-old fan to thank for his serious side on the course. Grant also talked about opting for the Mega Wall, and his strategy heading into the upcoming City Finals.

Dennis Mong/NBC

“So I got this fan mail sent to me from a 4-year-old and she wrote in it, ‘You’re my favorite. I love watching you. I love your dance moves. Stop dancing so much and you’ll make it to the finals.’ And I was like, ‘Wow, this 4-year-old girl knows what’s up.’ So I took that to heart. Tried to focus and cut down my time and remember first I’m a competitor, then I’m an entertainer.”

“(Getting to the Mega Wall) reminded me I’m also an entertainer. So to make it to the top and celebrating was awesome, but just to get there, it just felt really good, but also I felt practiced. I felt like I had done this and I know what I’m doing. It’s not like I haven’t been in the gym and training. So it felt like what I’ve trained for paid off

Before I ran the course, I literally was 30% sure I could make the Mega Wall if I tried it and I was 50/50 on whether I would take the opportunity to do it or not, because time matters. Commitment, you go down, you know, no building confidence for the next night. Like all those things factored, but when I came off of Slingshot, I was like, you know what? If someone offered me, ‘Hey, I’ll give you $10,000 if you can run up this wall,’ I’m going to take that opportunity every single time outside of this show, so I figured let’s take it here too. So I went for it.

I actually missed the first time, just because I didn’t go hard enough. I should have believed that I could have done it the first try and I didn’t and then I did believe I could the second try and had a really good grip on it. It felt really easy the second time. So just got to believe in yourself. It really does make a difference.”

Dennis Mong/NBC

“I won’t be going for the fastest time (in City Finals), but I will be going faster. I want to be faster than I am sometimes and I forget. You get excited and you get pumped and that changes your whole strength ratio and messes with stuff and I don’t like that, so everyone just thinks I stop to dance, but sometimes I also have to really breathe and get that pump out of my arms and relax and know what I’m doing is what I can do. I’m going a little faster though (in City Finals), for sure.”