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Grant McCartney on his lunge for the Mega Wall, ‘If anyone offers me $10,000 to try something, I’m probably going to try it’

Grant reflects on coming into the season with little notice and making it work.

Elizabeth Morris/NBC

Grant McCartney is a big Ninja personality. Literally. When we asked him about his Ninja group this season of Mike Wright and Kamerion Wimbley, he replied, “Big Ninja club! Swole Squad! Thick boy club! Over 200 pounds only.”

Grant has made a name for himself on American Ninja Warrior by combining his big personality with handling his large frame well on the course. A few times, its led to a conundrum when his dancing and waving have contributed to timing issues bumping him out of the season. This year, Grant knew that wasn’t an option. One of the new rules in place states that just hitting a buzzer in Qualifying wouldn’t be enough. The competitors must make the top 12. If 13 Ninjas hit the buzzer, number 13 is heading home.

This time around, Grant knew it was time to do work. His run on night one of Qualifying was focused. Besides an unsuccessful attempt at the Mega Wall, Grant wasn’t looking to waste any time. Watch his run below.

We spoke to Grant before his run and found out how quarantine training might have put him at a disadvantage, but he plans on working with it.

How does it feel to actually be here?

GM: It feels weird! It feels real weird! I moved to Houston from Hawaii just to train. I had all these plans. Of course, we all did. I’m coming to Houston, I’m training, I’m feeling good. Then we get on lockdown and I’m like, “Well, I don’t think we’re going to have a season.” I started training Cross Fit, putting on weight, squats, leg strength that I don’t really need for Ninja. Feeling fit, but a different kind of fit, and then hear, “Oh yeah. We’re competing in a week.” And I’m like, “OH, OKAY.”

It feels like my first season. My first season I didn’t put extensive training in. I did as many pull ups as I could that day I got the call. That’s how I feel this year. I’m here. I feel strong and I’m relying on years of experience, but also just feeling healthy all around. I was able to workout. I built a home gym during Covid.

What are you goals for the season?

GM: I’m taking it one step at a time. My small goals are to get through the course quickly, but I will be doing Mega Wall, I know that. If anyone offers me $10,000 to try something, I’m probably going to try it no matter what. Even if it could get me knocked out of the competition, I will be doing Mega Wall. And then advance to the next round. From there, I’ll readjust. I have been working on some speed stuff. I do think I could do a little bit better on speed stuff than in years past on something like the Power Tower.

Timing on the course could be very important this year. Are you feeling ready for that?

GM: It will help having no crowd! If you think I won’t play to the imaginary crowd, you’re mistaken. I will definitely be hyping up the imaginary crowd. But I’m going to try to get it moving through this course.

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We’ll see if Grant show off his new pacing when he returns to the course for the Semi-Finals in a few weeks!