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Jody Avila sets his sights high, ‘I 100% honestly know that I can hit four buzzers in Vegas’

With his first City Finals finish under his belt, he’s ready for so much more.

Jody Avila made it to the big time in the American Ninja Warrior Oklahoma City Finals. He moved his 6’6” frame nimbly through the entire course, claiming his first City Finals buzzer in his four seasons.

The moment was especially satisfying after Jody’s less than spectacular season 10 where he exited the competition in the Qualifying round. Back in season nine, Jody made it to Stage Two of the National Finals. He’ll now have the chance to repeat, and beat, that performance as he’s definitely moving on to Las Vegas.

Jody gave us some insight on what it’s like to get back to the top after experiencing defeat, and just how far he wants to go this year. (Hint: It’s really, really far.)

Returning after a down season

“Season 10 didn’t go too well. I was supposed to compete in Dallas. I had a really bad ankle injury, and ended up competing in Indianapolis, and I went down on Block Run, which is the balance obstacle in Indy. Yeah, it was a tough pill to swallow, but I’ve been working on it a lot.

You have to really just kind of try to learn from your mistakes. Like I know last year, on Block Run, I had an ankle injury and I still tried to run that balance obstacle as if I was 100% injury-free, and obviously I wasn’t. I should have done some things differently that I now know what I can do if I end up getting in trouble on a balance obstacle here in Oklahoma City. So it’s just learning and adapting.

When you fail, you can’t give up. You just got to keep going.”

What he expects from himself on the course this year

“I expect myself to be a little bit more composed, because I do get a little frustrated sometimes. And I don’t enjoy the success as much as I hate the failure. And I really need to learn how to enjoy the successes a little bit more, versus just hitting a buzzer and just immediately thinking about, ‘Okay, now I have to beat the next course.’ I have to enjoy the experience. I have to enjoy the moment, for sure.”

Brett Deering/NBC

Looking back at Oklahoma City and the City Finals

“City Finals was amazing. I’ve been working so hard to get a badge. To finally have a (finisher’s) badge on my shirt it means so much to me. Especially since I didn’t get the Mega Wall. I’m kind of bummed that I didn’t get the $10,000 but I don’t train Mega Walls. I train for City Finals and Stage Two. The badge actually means a lot more to me than the $10,000, especially being that there’s a million dollars in Vegas.

As soon as I got passed the Crazy Clocks I had a pretty good feeling that I was going to finish the course because I knew Snap Back was just more of a technical obstacle than a pumpy one. I felt like my technique is pretty solid. I’ve been working on Spider Climb a lot at my house. Once I got past those clocks I knew I was good to go.”

Brett Deering/NBC

What he expects out of Las Vegas

“I’m just ready to go. I mean, the training’s been done. There’s nothing more that I can do. I 100% honestly know that I can hit four buzzers in Vegas. If I can put the pieces together I know that I can finish and be the next American Ninja Warrior.”

Is Jody the next American Ninja Warrior? We’ll find out if he’s still on his way when he takes on Stage One of the National Finals in a few weeks!