Now that the American Ninja Warrior season 13 Semifinals have wrapped up, I can finally get into the reasons behind my out-of-context thoughts on that round of the competition. This is a long one, so let's get into it!
- Don’t do it. Don’t you dare do it. Dang it. You did it. Sigh.
This was about R.J. Roman picking the Diving Boards. After watching the testers and seeing the competition, we all knew the DIving Boards were incredibly risky. No one got across them that night of the competition. I wanted to see R.J. complete the course, so when I saw him considering the Diving Boards, I was so hoping he would change his mind. He did not.
- I stand by my previous statement about squirrels.
The teens. Any teen, basically. Pick a teen. They’re incredible. I explained this when I talked about my thoughts from the Qualifiers. “Watching them on the course really was like watching squirrels bounce through the treetops! It became a bit of a running joke on set. As another teen would set the course on fire, a crew member would shake their head in astonishment and say, ‘Squirrels.”
- Does she know? She doesn’t know. Someone tell her!
This was about Zhanique Lovett. Zhanique has big goals for herself this year. When she fell on the Tilt-A-Whirl in the Semifinals, she was extremely upset. I was nearby when she came out of the pool. As the cameras pulled away, she looked back at the course in frustration and told her friends that was it. Her season was over. She wasn’t going to Vegas. She was devastated. I looked down at my notes and realized Zhanique was still in position to make the women’s leaderboard. It wasn’t my place to tell her the results. I was so anxious for someone to let her know that her season was still in play!
- Were we really expecting anything else from that run? Delightfully par for the course.
Good old Joe Moravsky. He just went out there and did exactly what we all thought he would do, completing the course with the second-fastest time of the night.
- Where did this woman come from?!?
Rachel Degutz! She made it all the way to the ninth obstacle on the Semifinals course. That meant she overcame the Padlock which took out so many competitors. That’s so impressive as a rookie and it put her in the seventh position overall on the leaderboard. I’d had my eye on competitors like Isabella Wakeham, but Rachel snuck up on me in the best way.
- Now THAT is a Power Tower match-up.
Joe Moravsky versus Jay Lewis on the Power Tower! They both had just crushed the Semifinals course. They had that great dynamic of student versus mentor. It was a teen rookie against one of the most revered veterans in the sport. I loved all the angles of this match-up.
- Is that a historic number of (REDACTED) for the City Finals? It might be.
That was about the impressive 12 clears during night four of the Semifinals. At the time, I was wondering if that was a record. It is not, but it’s the most we’ve seen in a long time! According to Sasukepedia, it’s beaten out by the 18 finishers in season four’s Southeast Region finals, and 22 finishers in the season one Semifinals.
- I’m pretty sure it’s not humanly possible to beat the course in a faster time than that.
This one is easy. Jake Murray. With his 3:34.39 time, he set the fastest pace of the Semifinals. Watching it in person, you had to wonder if anyone could top that.
- And there it is. Boom. History made.
Jesse Flex Labreck, okay? THREE times to a 10-obstacle buzzer (in regular-season competition)? It’s incredible. We’re here for it. Every time I get to watch Jesse pull off one of these feats in person, I consider myself so lucky to be there for that moment in Ninja Warrior history.
- Wait, that means WHO just got bumped out of the National Finals?
Specifically, this is about Flip Rodriguez. He ran on the final night of the Semifinals when we had those whopping 12 finishes. At first, I was feeling confident that his steady run to the eighth obstacle, Crazy Clocks, would be good enough to get him a spot on the leaderboard. But as the night wore on, more and more competitors found their way to the buzzer. It was thrilling! Then, at one point, I looked down at my records and realized Flip was very close to being out of the competition. A few runs later, I knew his season was over.
I’ll expand on my out-of-context National Finals thoughts in a few weeks!