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American Ninja Warrior season 12 recap: Night two of Semi-Finals

A lot of joy. A lot of heartbreak. And just like that, the Semi-Finals are over.

Elizabeth Morris/NBC

In a breathtaking blink of an eye, the American Ninja Warrior Semi-Finals are over! We knew this season would be a short, sweet eight episodes, and they are positively flying by. Night two of the Semi-Finals brought the last of the Ninjas back to the course. They were treated to one heck of a ride.

The season 11 Obstacle Design Challenge winner, Corkscrew, held its position as obstacle number eight and it once again was a bear of a challenge. In the end, six Ninjas reached the buzzer, including Najee Richardson in an incredible display of physical and mental perseverance. But the night was not without its shocks. Read on to find out who’s through to the Finals and who’s season came to an end!

The course

  • Shrinking Steps
  • Spring Forward
  • Clockwork
  • Burn Rubber
  • Slingshot
  • Warped Wall
  • Salmon Ladder
  • Corkscrew
  • The Dungeon
  • Spider Trap

You can jump to the leaderboard here.

Here, you’ll find a list of where the runs ended by obstacle.

  • Verdale Benson:
    The former Army medic earned his first buzzer in the Qualifiers. After staying controlled on Spring Forward and Clockwork, Verdale hesitated before Burn Rubber and took his time on Slingshot. He survived the first twisting drop of Corkscrew, but didn’t make the leap to the second pin.
    Result: Out on Corkscrew
  • Thomas Stillings:
    After an emotional Qualifying run to the buzzer, he was out on Corkscrew.
    Result: Out on Corkscrew
  • Dan Polizzi:
    The Chicago-area Firefighter was representing for both the Towers of Power after his friend, Brandon Mears’, exit in the Qualifiers. Dan tripped on Burn Rubber and had a rickety ride on Slingshot. But after a quick wave to Matt and Akbar from the Warped Wall, he was into the back half. With his tall frame, Corkscrew really whipped him around, but he survived. On The Dungeon, Dan locked in the panel, but had nothing left after that.
    Result: Out on The Dungeon
  • Meagan Martin:
    Meagan shared the exciting news that she’s now engaged to her boyfriend of two years, Dave! She looked strong on Spring Forward but took a belly flop on Burn Rubber that propelled her into the landing pad, and then the water.
    Result: Out on Burn Rubber
Elizabeth Morris/NBC
  • Alex Carson:
    After earning his first buzzer in the Qualifiers, he ended his season on Slingshot.
    Result: Out on Slingshot
  • David Wright:
    The Cake Ninja led his team victory in the first round. The sophomore competitor looked like he was loving these obstacles, grinning the whole time. He put up a very solid run to The Dungeon.
    Result: Out on The Dungeon
  • Amir Malik:
    You would never guess that at the age of eight, Amir discovered he had a heart condition that could have sent him into cardiac arrest and required surgery. After avoiding sports for a long time, Amir found Ninja and fell in love. And he’s a natural. He completed the Qualifying course and breezed through this Semi-Finals course. Matt tried to say he was struggling on Slingshot, but didn’t even have time to finish his sentence before Amir was out of there. He twirled through Corkscrew. Without breaking a sweat, he completed The Dungeon and eyed the Spider Trap. Here, he finally looked slightly inexperienced. Amir had trouble setting up his feet in the chute to push open the doors, but he gritted through it. That is, until a slip at the very last set of doors kept that buzzer out of reach. But his teammates instantly cheered him up.
    Result: Out on Spider Trap
  • Taylor Johnson:
    The 4’11” Ninja was out on Clockwork.
    Result: Out on Clockwork
  • Sean Bryan:
    It looked like his shoulder injury wouldn’t be an issue this season. Sean was even timing himself on the course, keeping his eye on the top time. Suddenly, he was out on Slingshot.
    Result: Out on Slingshot
  • Najee Richardson:
    Najee was representing for Ninjas for Black Lives, an organization that has deeply personal meaning for him. We joined him on the course as he deftly handled Slingshot. He seemed to be enjoying this run. After reverse traversing the Salmon Ladder, Najee made Corkscrew his pet. On The Dungeon, Najee began to look tired on the trip to the final panel, making the transition. We were suddenly so scared for him as he leaned over, gasping for air and asking for his inhaler (Najee has asthma). Michael Torres brought it to him and we all held our breaths as Najee took an inhale. Then, he marched into the Spider Trap and brought this thing home!
    Result: Complete
  • Jessica Helmer:
    After falling on the first obstacle in the Qualifiers, her team captain, R.J. Roman revived her season with a win on the Power Tower. This time, she made it Clockwork.
    Result: Out on Clockwork
  • Jeshuah Lewis:
    Jeshuah was revived by Joe Moravsky. He made it to the Corkscrew.
    Result: Out on Corkscrew
  • Will Schlageter:
    Will tried to run the course when he was 14, and his dad attempted it in his place. After falling on the Beehive in Qualifiers, team captain Joe Moravsky was able to bring him back. Imagine growing up watching the show and someone like Joe is your savior on your rookie year?!? Things looked dicey for Will on Slingshot, but he made it into the back half. Unfortunately, he was out during the first moments of Corkscrew.
    Result: Out on Corkscrew
  • Lorin Ball:
    The first of the OG Ninjas fell on Burn Rubber.
    Result: Out on Burn Rubber
  • Brian Kretsch:
    Next up was Brian, who tripped on Burn Rubber, but was subdued by Corkscrew.
    Result: Out on Corkscrew
  • David Campbell:
    Things went similarly for David. After a save on Burn Rubber, he was twisted up by Corkscrew.
    Result: Out on Corkscrew
  • Lance Pekus:
    We got a little emotional watching Lance help his wife, Heather, who has MS, ride a horse with their seven-year-old daughter, Gracie. Every season, we’re reminded of just how bonded this family is in the face of uncertain times. We were so hoping he’d be heading farther into the season, but he was one of the Ninjas tripped up by the surprisingly technical Burn Rubber.
    Result: Out on Burn Rubber
  • Alex Nye:
    After hitting a buzzer in Qualifying, he was out on Slingshot.
    Result: Out on Slingshot
  • Tiana Webberley:
    We definitely screamed in frustration when Tiana, who had JUST earned her first buzzer, fell on the third obstacle.
    Result: Out on Clockwork
  • Mady Howard:
    Similarly, Mady had moved us all with her course completion in Qualifiers. With Meagan Martin and Jessie Graff cheering her on, we thought she had the first half of the course. But Burn Rubber struck again.
    Result: Out on Burn Rubber
  • Tage Harrington:
    The 19-year-old rookie whipped through Spring Forward, but was bounced out on Slingshot.
    Result: Out on Slingshot
Elizabeth Morris/NBC
  • Jeri D’Aurelio:
    Jeri was all smiles on the course, especially after surviving Burn Rubber. She didn’t make it past the Slingshot, but she was in the Finals as one of the top two women!
    Result: Out on Slingshot
  • Michael Torres:
    After a very busy time during the pandemic, including his own virtual wedding, Michael was having a great season. With his new wife Sarah looking on from home, Michael wasted no time. He plunged through the course and gritted out The Dungeon. Did he have enough energy left for the Spider Trap? It looked like he was slipping at points, but Michael refused to give up and did battle with the final set of doors, reaching his second buzzer of the year.
    Result: Complete
  • Ben Melick:
    The second member of R.J. Roman’s team was out on Clockwork.
    Result: Out on Clockwork
  • R.J. Roman:
    R.J. was right back to tearing up the course. After one hairy moment on The Dungeon, he shot to the buzzer for the fastest time of the night to this point.
    Result: Complete
  • Devin Harrelson:
    After struggling multiple times with the fifth obstacle on the course, Devin was hoping to break the streak. He was able to stomp his way through Burn Rubber and get past Slingshot, finally getting a taste of the back Half. And that’s where Corkscrew got him.
    Result: Out on Corkscrew
  • Austin Gray:
    The three-time veteran energetically powered through the course, creating a new top time.
    Result: Complete
  • Lucas Reale:
    Then, in an impressive show, Lucas hit the buzzer with an even faster time!
    Result: Complete
  • Jessie Graff:
    After completing the Qualifying course for her fifth career buzzer, everyone wanted to see Jessie on the extended course. Finishing a 10-obstacle course has been a goal of hers for years. We wanted to see this happen. After trotting across Burn Rubber, Jessie was cleared for the Finals by the women’s leaderboard. It’s fair to say no one doubted her ability to complete the front half of the course, and she did just that. But then, Corkscrew happened. Jessie has been dealing with shoulder issues and we’re sure she wasn’t excited for this obstacle. She survived the first drop, was tangled up on the second, and hit the water attempting to reach the third pin. She’ll have another shot at an extended course in the Finals, at least.
    Result: Out on Corkscrew
  • Joe Moravsky:
    Joe wants it ALL this season. He beat the Mega Wall and won the Power Tower in the Qualifiers. For these Semi-Finals, he never took his foot off the gas. After not even a hitch on the front part of the course, he skipped rungs heading up the Salmon Ladder. This course looked like nothing with Joe on it, bounding through Corkscrew and The Dungeon. At the bottom of the Spider Trap, Joe had a narrow 30 seconds if he wanted the fastest time. Is that even possible? It is if you’re Joe. He locked in the top time by less than a second. Also, Akbar should probably cool it with the “dad bod” comments. Joe is undoubtedly in top form.
    Result: Complete