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American Ninja Warrior season 13 recap: Night four of Qualifiers

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We’d been waiting for a certain moment this season. We finally got it!

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Elizabeth Morris/NBC

First, we just have to say this... A woman hit the buzzer for the first time this season. We’d been waiting for that big moment!

American Ninja Warrior’s fourth night of the Qualifiers delivered a heck of a roster of competitors. We had the return of veterans like Jake Murray, Meagan Martin, Allyssa Beird, Ethan Swanson, Nate Hansen, Adam Rayl, Sean Bryan. We could keep listing them!

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that, yes, the rookies were in full force, as usual, this year.

We had buzzers. Lots of buzzers! Overall, the hits never stopped coming. It was a busy night, so get to reading!

The course:

  • Shrinking Steps
  • Double Down
  • Split Decision
  1. Log Runner
  2. Block Run
  • Air Surfer
  • Pretzel Twist
  • Warped Wall/Mega Wall

Stephen Edwards: We kicked things off with the tallest competitor of the night. Stephen is 6’5”. He used to drive race cars but traded those in for a suped-up minivan for his family. After putting his run into gear, Stephen showed us the new Double Down, which requires Ninjas to crank up and slide down two different times. He tripped up on Log Runner. The obstacle requires that you stand up to move forward. After a valiant effort, he was out.
Result: Out on Log Runner

Addy Herman: Addy was the youngest competitor of the night at 15-years-old. She trains with fellow Ninja Taylor Johnson, who was ready to cheer her on. Addy made a fantastic leap on Double Down and was quick across Log Runner. She made perfect transitions on Air Surfer to find herself at Pretzel Twist. Here, she was hung up trying to unhook the first pretzel. That tired her out enough to cause a fall shortly after freeing it.
Result: Out on Pretzel Twist

Zack Eichenstein: Zack was out on Log Runner.

Jesse Orenshein: Jesse flipped off the first Double Down drop.

Melissa St.Vil: Melissa is a professional boxer and Super-lightweight Champion. Could she fair better than other fighters have on the course? Ehh, not really. She was out on the Shrinking Steps.
Result: Out on Shrinking Steps

Elizabeth Morris/NBC

Guang Cui: The MIT student and violinist climbs all over campus with fellow Ninja Daniel Sun. After a great run through Double Down and Log Runner, Guang made a close save on Air Surfer. He wasn’t so lucky on the next transfer when he overshot the landing and found himself in the drink.
Result: Out on Air Surfer

Fun fact: Air Surfer is the season 12 Obstacle Design Challenge winner! It was invented by 15-year-old Jennie Bensley. She and her dad even got to watch some of the competition on the virtual sideline. Submit your idea for this year’s challenge here.

Dale Webb: The vegan bodybuilder went out on Double Down

Rachel Degutz: Rachel was an energetic rookie who made it all the way to the fifth obstacle, Pretzel Twist.

Daniel Sun: Guang’s friend and fellow MIT student was out on Double Down.

Jay Lewis: 17-year-old Jay Lewis trains with fellow ANW Jr alum Blake Feero. In fact, they’re best friends who grew up on the same street together. Jay is also known as “Jay Laché” for his impressive skills. On the course, Jay popped right through Double Down, selected Log Runner, and frolicked through Air Surfer. He put together a clean trip through Pretzel Twist, gave the Mega Wall and shot, and closed things out with a Warped Wall buzzer, the first of the night.
Result: Complete

Blake Feero: Blake was up next, looking to follow Jay’s success. However, he miscalculated a jump on Air Surfer and ended his run there.

Caroline Lee: Caroline competed in season three of Ninja Warrior, where she fell on the second obstacle. History repeated itself with a fall on Double Down.

Judas Licciardello: The auctioneer tumbled to safety off Log Runner but was out Pretzel Twist.

Paul Fisher: Paul was competing alongside his friend Ivan King. They both left the Amish community at the same time and have since built a Ninja barn together for training. We thought Paul was going for Block Run, but he changed his mind and opted for Log Runner. He made careful moves on Air Surfer and did a quick handstand to celebrate his success. But his aggressive momentum on Pretzel Twist peeled him off the obstacle.
Result: Out on Pretzel Twist

Elizabeth Morris/NBC

Ivan King: Ivan came up one obstacle short of matching Paul when he fell on Air Surfer.

Casey Rothschild: Casey is the founder of Queer Ninjas Unite, a group dedicated to supporting LGBTQ members of the Ninja community. When Casey was 20, she hit a buzzer as a rookie. This season, she put up a strong run to Pretzel Twist.
Result: Out on Pretzel Twist

Dr. Stewart Mahler: After dancing it out on the start line, the doctor was out on Log Runner. Everyone seems to be terrified of the Block Run, although Log Runner technically has a more dubious track record.

Nate Hansen: Back in season 12, Nate cleared the Qualifying course and shared his experience with his growth hormone deficiency. His story earned him a legion of new fans. Nate had a repeat performance in the best way possible when he zipped through the course for another buzzer and a top time!
Result: Complete

Adam Rayl: The six-time veteran is now roommates with Sean Bryan. Adam ran to the Mega Wall and settled with a Warped Wall completion.
Result: Complete

Sean Bryan: The Papal Ninja has injured himself on the course in the past, so we were worried about his hard hit coming off Pretzel Twist. But Sean was just fine and with the fastest course completion to this point of the night.
Result: Complete

Andrew East: Andrew is a former NFL player who was on seven teams. But in his family, the better-known athlete is his wife, Olympic gold medal gymnast Shawn Johnson. Shawn joined Matt and Akbar in the host tower for her husband’s run and she was SO nervous for every move Andrew made. He handled the course surprisingly well! He made the Double Down transition. He survived Log Runner. Even he was shocked to be at the fourth obstacle. His run ended on the first transition of the Air Surfer but with huge smiles from both him and Shawn.
Result: Out on Air Surfer

Elizabeth Morris/NBC

Anthony Eardley: The welder with oodles of energy was out on Pretzel Twist.

Taylor Johnson: Taylor does not let her 4’11” frame hold her back in this sport. She trotted across Log Runner but hit the water on Air Surfer.

Rob Pannell: The professional lacrosse player when out on Double Down.

Abby Clark: Abby’s pup is a Ninja! Her dog, Ace, is a Border Collie with agility training. Abby hit a buzzer back in season 10 and had her sights set on more of that. Abby was studious on Air Surfer, using measured movements. She took the same focused approach on Pretzel Twist, but it was apparent she was starting to tire. Her grip gave out but Zuri let her know she was safe for the Semifinals.
Result: Out on Pretzel Twist

Darius Moore: Darius owns a demolition company, but Double Down wrecked his run.

Brian Kretsch: Brian is one of a very few remaining OGs who’ve competed on every season of the show. Back in season seven, he broke his leg on a balance obstacle. Understandably, he was relieved to put Log Runner behind him. He made it to Pretzel Twist.
Result: Out on Pretzel Twist

David Campbell: David is the other remaining Ninja OG. We’ve learned to never doubt what David can pull off. This time, he pulled off surviving an *ahem* painful landing on Pretzel Twist. It didn’t stop him from attempting the Mega Wall, although he didn’t get $10k this year.
Result: Complete

Caiden Madzelan: This 15-year-old goes by the “Troutdale Ninja” as he represents his small Oregon hometown. Ninja Warrior helped him mend a troubled relationship with his dad. Although he’s young, Caiden is already 6’1” and he bounced through the course. It looked like this was a rehearsed run as he was perfect on Log Runner and Air Surfer. Caiden went right through the Pretel Twist for a Mega Wall attempt. He touched the lip of the big wall but ended up on the Warped Wall.
Result: Complete

Elizabeth Morris/NBC

Tage Herrington: Tage has an impressive 12 siblings! They watched and cheered as Tage headed to the buzzer once more, with a Mega Wall attempt.
Result: Complete

Brandon Richards: After a close call on Double Down, his run ended on Air Surfer.

Adam Nasser: Adam had some issues with the first obstacle. Then, he was stuck on the Log Runner for a full minute. After somehow surviving that, he was out on Pretzel Twist.
Result: Out on Pretzel Twist

Quinn Nguyen: Quinn is a first-person drone pilot who gave us a very cool birdseye tour of the course. Quinn took two big jolts on Double Down but hung tough. He sprinted through Log Runner and slowed things down on Air Surfer. He was mightily close to slipping off the edges, but he made it through. Quinn got twisted around on the fifth obstacle and had a massive peel off into the water. But he was through to the Semis.
Result: Out on Pretzel Twist

Ethan Swanson: We all know this energetic veteran by his signature “swan wings” and his fast runs. He now lives with another speedster, Jake Murray, in Colorado. Ethan gave us a welcome change of pace when he ran through Block Run. He hopped through the Air Surfer to reach Pretzel Twist with the fastest time to this point. Ethan did slow it down to solve that physical puzzle. Then he ignored the Mega Wall to opt for the second-fastest time (at that point.)
Result: Complete

Elizabeth Morris/NBC

Matt Bradley: Matt celebrated his mom’s birthday by getting her a buzzer.
Result: Complete

Austin Gray: Surprisingly, the season 12 runner-up was just short of a buzzer when he fell on the Pretzel Twists.

Allyssa Beird: Allyssa was one of a few Ninjas who opted for Block Run. Her run to the Pretzel Twists put her on the bubble for the women’s leaderboard. The night was shaping up to be a tough one!
Result: Out on Pretzel Twist

Meagan Martin: Fresh off her 2021 Women’s Championship win, Meagan was ready for anything. She’s engaged, she’s on NBC’s Olympic broadcast team, she’s in a great place. But we were worried when she looked stuck on Double Down. It was not going to be a clean run for her. That was proved by a very close call on Air Surfer. Then came Pretzel Twist. We have no idea how, but the exhausted Meagan hung on with everything she had and made it through! At the top of the Warped Wall, Meagan became emotional as she was the first woman to clear a course this season. This also marked five women in the top 30, something which has only occurred twice in the show’s history. (The other being earlier this season!)
Result: Complete

Chad Flexington: Ben Udy brought his own Mega Wall check. But he couldn’t cash it. He was out on Pretzel Twist.

Luke Dillon: Luke took the Log Runner to course completion.
Result: Complete

Jonah Munoz: Jonah likes to “Woo!” after every obstacle. He got to do that quite a few times as he completed the course.
Result: Complete

Jake Murray: The final run went to Jake Murray. He was incredibly fast in season 12 and he looked to want that reputation once more. He smartly took the time he needed on Air Surfer. It looked like he was focused on technique over timing on Pretzel Twist. And yet he still completed the course with the top time.
Result: Complete

Elizabeth Morris/NBC

As seen on Akbar’s Gbajabia-moments

  • Aubry Marie: Out on Double Down
  • Bryan Mendez: Out on Air Surfer
  • John Huey: Out on Double Down