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Is Adam Rayl setting himself up to be this season’s champion?

After a few bumps in LA, he looks to be in his element in Vegas.

While this American Ninja Warrior season hasn’t gone exactly how Adam Rayl would have liked, he turned it on when it mattered the most. Adam hit the buzzer on night one of the National Finals, meaning he’s cleared to take on Stage Two and is in the running for the season’s championship.

Four-time competitor Adam headed into Las Vegas after a few bumps in the Los Angeles region. While he obviously qualified to advance with both his runs, he didn’t complete either course. That hasn’t happened since season eight for Adam. Since then, he’s always completed both Qualifiers and City Finals, and made it to Stage Two.

Adam spoke to us about 24 hours before his speedy run to the Stage One buzzer. It was clear his mind was on what was about to happen, not what was behind him.

Getting to the National Finals without a buzzer yet this season

“City finals in Los Angeles. Much like city qualifiers, I was a little bit shorter than where I wanted to measure up to -- fifth obstacle in Qualifiers and ninth obstacle in Finals.

I don’t think it was a matter of not having what I needed physically. I think it was just tricky timing situations in both cases.

It’s kind of one of those things that if you’ve never seen before, what do you do. You just try your best. You can’t really see what you’re grabbing. It happened to be that I was a little bit off. It was a definite bummer, but at least I was one obstacle from finishing. I would have rather had the two years in a row with finals, three years in a row actually. But unfortunately that train came to an end.”

David Becker/NBC

Facing down Stage One

“The anticipation is just kind of starting even though it’s not very far away, 24 hours up. I kind of tend to stay pretty calm until the last moment. I think that’s served me well usually. Sort of just turn it on right when I need to, generally speaking. But for now I’m just trying to keep the adrenaline steady and not try to blow up at all. Just, same game as normal. Just stay calm until you need to go.”

Will there be a $1 million champion this year?

“Personally, and I would agree with the anticipation collective, I think many of us think it’s been a few years since we’ve had a champion, a grand champion, a total victor. We’re feeling like it’s possible. It’s more possible this year than it has been in previous years. Maybe we’re being a little more hopeful, and not as realistic.

I think the collective skill level is constantly elevated and that never stops. It’s always just growing and growing and stuff. That being said, I think it would be cool to have a winner. And I think those who put on this show might also think that. We’ll see what happens. But I think there’s a decent chance that we’ll see a grand champion this year.”

David Becker/NBC

Could Adam be that champion?

“I’d like to say I think I have as much of a shot as that as anybody. It’s the nature of the game that I think it can happen at any time, as we saw in City Finals with me personally. As I see with everybody all the time. It doesn’t matter what your skill level is, there’s going to be something that going to be take you out eventually. Whether or not it’s tonight, or this year or next year, it’s just going to happen.

I feel like I’m mentally and physically prepped and capable of doing what I need to do to go all the way. It’s just going to be a matter of does it happen on this particular attempt, and I’m going to have to be perfect four stages in a row. Hoping for the best. I feel ready. I trust in the mindset to stay calm, turn it on when I need to. If the gods are favoring me that night, we’ll see.”

David Becker/NBC

Was that a little foreshadowing of what we can expect next from Adam? We have three more weeks of the National Finals to find out!