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American Ninja Warrior season 13 recap: Night two of Semifinals

The night brought us a Power Tower that could only occur this season.

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Elizabeth Morris/NBC

Just how good are the new teens on American Ninja Warrior? Good enough to go to the Power Tower with one of the best veterans in the history of the show.

Night two of the Semifinals culminated in an epic Power Tower that pitted a teacher against his prized student. But before we got to that, we saw a strong group of Ninjas fight their way to the National Finals. Joe Moravsky returned, as did Amir Malik and Sandy Zimmerman. Some of the top teens from the Qualifiers, like Kaden Lebsack and Jay Lewis, returned to further prove this may be their year.

Ready, set, go!

The course

  • Shrinking Steps
  • Double Twister
  • Ring Chaser
  • Spinning Bridge
  • Wall to Wall
  • Warped Wall
  • Salmon Ladder
  • Padlock
  • Split Decision
  1. Inverter
  2. Tuning Forks
  • Spider Trap

Rachel Degutz: Rachel impressed everyone with her memorable Qualifying run. She may be a rookie, but she’s been training with fellow “Jersey Girls” Abby Clark and Cara Mack for a while. On the Semifinals course, Rachel was all business. She caught the ring on Ring Chaser. She was an expert on Wall to Wall. Rachel gave us a moment of panic when she missed two Warped Wall attempts but cleared the edge on her third. Rachel showed us the new Padlock, which requires Ninjas to morph into Spiderman. On three wheels, competitors must cling to tiny ledges, drop to the bottom, and laché to the next. Oh yeah, they spin too. The last wheel spun to the side, almost shaking Rachel off. She fought back to advance to obstacle nine. Exhausted, Rachel opted for the Tuning Forks, ending her incredible run there.
Result: Out on Tuning Forks

Paul Fisher: Paul, who grew up in the Amish community, brought some shoofly pie along to the course. But after missing the ring grab, Ring Chaser ended his season.

Addy Herman: Addy, 15, did grab the ring, but stumbled on Spinning Bridge.

John Uga: John is currently a bricklayer, but he’s in the process of becoming a police officer in the Boston area. He earned a round of applause when he caught the ring with his foot! He nearly slipped up on Wall to Wall, with his grip strength saving him. After a few more wobbly moves, like missing the first Warped Wall attempt, fellow Ninja Lucas Reale reminded John to take a breath. Calmed, John moved into the back half. The first wheel of Padlock spun him out.
Result: Out on Padlock

Elizabeth Morris/NBC

Shaq Leach: Shaq very fittingly crushed a basketball at the start line, but he couldn’t overpower the Spinning Bridge.

Logan Kreglow: The former Ivy League track star was out on Wall to Wall.

Alex Begolly: Alex powered through the course to reach Padlock with a very respectable time.

Xavier Dantzler: At 16-years-old, Xavier is considered to have less experience than the other teens because he was not on American Ninja Warrior Junior. But that doesn’t bother Xavier. He gritted his way through Wall to Wall and easily cleared the Warped Wall. With the Salmon Ladder behind him, Xavier shook out his arms prior to starting Padlock. However, he was tapped out by the second wheel.
Result: Out on Padlock

Lenny Lopez: Lenny was out on Double Twister.

Anthoney Eardley: The energetic welder was out on the Salmon Ladder.

Amir Malik: Season 12’s breakout rookie from Vermont had fellow Vermonter and Olympic Gold Medal snowboarder Hannah Teter on his sideline. Amir stuck like glue to Padlock in a very good way. After settling on Inverter, Amir quickly navigated the obstacle with a focus on efficiency. With that behind him, Amir took a moment before starting the Spider Trap. He slipped out of the obstacle previously and wanted to avoid that result. There were no errors here. Amir was set for his first National Finals.
Result: Complete

Elizabeth Morris/NBC

Jeremy Clark: Jeremy was out on Double Twister.

Will Schlageter: Will ended his run on Padlock.

Casey Rothschild: When Casey was 20, she became the youngest woman to hit a buzzer on the show. Casey is also a founding member of Queer Ninjas Unite, a group dedicated to supporting LGBTQ+ members of the Ninja community. On the course, Casey missed the ring on Ring Chaser but didn’t have issues using the small ring to complete it. After a big fall on the Spinning Bridge, it looked like this run would be a bumpy ride for Casey. She cleared Wall to Wall and the Warped Wall. Then, Casey put in slow, steady work on the Salmon Ladder. What energy would she have left for Padlock? Not too much. But she was through to the National Finals.
Result: Out on Padlock

Elizabeth Morris/NBC

Brett Hernandez Strong, Caiden Madzelan, and Lucas Reale all went out on the Padlock, but all had strong enough times to move on to Las Vegas.

Chad Flexington: Also known as Ben Udy, he used the smaller ring to complete Ring Chaser. He cracked some jokes on Wall to Wall and dropped a “people’s elbow” on the back half of the course. Taking his time, Ben looked strong on the first wheel of Padlock. But in dramatic fashion, the second wheel spun him upside down and into the water. His time to the obstacle would mean his season was over.
Result: Out on Padlock

Julius Ferguson: The rapper known as Black Jewlez had a smooth run until Padlock.

Dan Champagne: Dan hit a buzzer in Qualifying, and it looked like the hosts might get to pop the champagne again as he made it to the Inverter. But they had to save their drinks for another day.
Result: Out on Inverter

Jay Lewis: Jay is a protegé of Joe Moravsky. Now, at age 17, Joe considers Jay his competition. It’s easy to see why. Jay beasted through the course, making everything look easy. On Padlock, Jay made quick drops to the bottom and quick leaps between wheels. The third tossed him to the side and required Jay to adjust for the dismount. Looking back, Jay called the obstacle “terrifying.” With a fast time to this point, Jay selected the Inverter and made it through. He closed out the Spider Trap with a time that put him into position for the Power Tower.
Result: Complete

Elizabeth Morris/NBC

Judas Licciardello: The auctioneer did a flip off the Double Twister and endured a painful knock on Wall to Wall. On the back half, he became a victim of Padlock.

Abby Clark: Abby, who has completed a Qualifying course before, shocked us when she was unable to complete the Warped Wall this time.

Cara Mack: The Jersey Girl and Ninjababes Podcast host made it to the Padlock and the National Finals.

Nick Hanson: The rugby player from Iowa, NOT the one from Alaska. He handled his larger frame well on Wall to Wall. Nick looked a little tired after the Salmon Ladder and Padlock did him in.
Result: Out on Padlock

Jackson Twait: The Mega Wall winner was pacing for the fastest time before he too fell on Padlock.

Chris Behrends: After a one-handed save on Wall to Wall, Chris sealed a trip to Vegas by sprinting to Padlock.

True Becker: True is heading to Tufts University in the fall, and the school mascot, Jumbo, cheered on the 17-year-old. After having no issues on the front half of the course, True made Vegas by clearing the Padlock. True selected the Inverter and was picture perfect on it. His time to the buzzer bumped Amir off the Power Tower.
Result: Complete

Elizabeth Morris/NBC

Sandy Zimmerman: Sandy missed the ring on Ring Chaser. Our jaws hit the floor when the smaller option sent her into the water. While building the momentum to dismount, the ring slipped off the cradle.
Result: Out on Ring Chaser

Devin Harrelson: Devin got Zuri a pair of his flashy shoes. He decided to use some flair on the Salmon Ladder by going up it backward and it was a terrible idea.
Result: Out on Salmon Ladder

Kaden Lebsack: Kaden was the fastest on his night of the Qualifiers and he made short work of Padlock and the Inverter. His completion time meant he could potentially go to the Power Tower with Jay Lewis.
Result: Complete

Joe Moravsky: The last run went to Joe and you know he wanted a trip to the Power Tower. On the front half, he linked movements to essentially sprint through the obstacles. When things got choppy on Wall to Wall, Joe reminded himself to focus. It worked. He carefully placed his hands on Padlock and moved with caution. After declaring the Tuning Forks too “sketchy,” Joe went for the Inverter. He was getting closer to the teens’ times and he knew he had to move. Flying up the Spider Trap, he took second fastest. That meant he’d face his student, Jay, on the Power Tower.

Elizabeth Morris/NBC


  • Jay Lewis vs Joe Moravsky

What an enthralling dynamic that’s only possible this season. The student would face the teacher. Joe was worried he’d trained Jay just a little too well.

But, age and experience did pay off this time. Joe took an early lead when he used his legs on the initial pole climb, not just his feet, which was Jay’s strategy. When Joe Moravsky has a lead, you’re in trouble. He made every move count. Jay made an impressive bid to close the gap towards the end, but this was Joe’s world.
Safety Pass winner: Joe Moravsky