Season 13 of American Ninja Warrior had so many unforgettable moments. We’re taking a moment to call out some of the stellar accomplishments from the women this year.
Creating a women-specific article is always a little bit of a struggle for us. We know the women on the show are so strong, just as strong as the men. We hate to perpetuate the idea that they should be measured by different standards. However, they are working hard to carve their paths in a sport that is dominated in the final rounds by men. We flinch whenever the term “last man standing” is used to define the season’s winner, instead of “Last Ninja Standing.” It feels like a passive way to assume a woman will never take that title.
With all that said, we really wanted to pause and appreciate the breadth of talent and stories brought to the show by women. They are capable of hitting all the buzzers and reaching all the goals. Below, we talk through five moments that are stuck in our minds, but there are so many more. Share your favorite season 13 memories in the comments below!
Jesse Labreck dominated the season.
What a season for Jesse! She hit buzzers in the Qualifiers and the Semifinals. Years of work paid off when Jesse finally reached the Stage One buzzer at the National Finals, becoming the third woman in the show’s history to reach Stage Two.
“It feels amazing. It feels so good to finally accomplish a goal that I’ve had set for years. Six years! I started really, really watching season seven. Seeing everyone on Stage One, that was my first goal for the whole thing. It’s been a long time. It took a while.
There was a part of me that wondered if it was ever going to happen. I’m not going to be doing this forever. I wondered if it was in the cards for me. I was like, “Okay, you’ve accomplished a lot in your Ninja Warrior career, you have to be okay that this might not happen.” Not that I would stop working for it every year. But sometimes you set big goals and sometimes you get them and sometimes you don’t. I’m just very thankful that I accomplished this goal.” - Jesse Labreck
Rachel Degutz stunned on the Semifinals course.
Rachel, a Ninja Warrior rookie, was one of only seven competitors to overcome the Padlock on her night of the Semifinals. She reached the ninth obstacle and reached a new level of Ninja Warrior success.
“This season has literally been a dream come true. I’ve wanted to be on American Ninja Warrior ever since I found out about the show. This was my third year applying and I finally got cast this year. I feel like having to wait a little bit to be cast just made the experience so much more special and meaningful to me.” - Rachel Degutz
Isabella Wakeham forged her Ninja Warrior future.
There was a ton of focus on the young teens as a whole this season. And in Isabella’s case, there was a lot of focus on her being there with her older brother, Isaiah. But the 17-year-old is more than capable of standing apart from the crowd. Case in point was when she reached the ninth obstacle in the Semifinals.
“I really wanted that buzzer. Nine obstacles is about as far as you can go without getting it. I was really happy with my run but hungry for a buzzer. I always see the ninth obstacle as a huge win. I kind of don’t apply that to myself because you always want better, but this is what I’ve always hoped for, dreamed for. To get to the ninth obstacle was really sick.” - Isabella Wakeham
Tiana Webberley proved her power.
Tiana is dogged in the pursuit of her goals. In her seven seasons on the show, she has gritted her way farther and farther down the course. In season 12, she earned her first buzzer. In season 13, she was one obstacle away from the Semifinals buzzer. At the National Finals, Tiana battled the clock. She made it farther than ever before on Stage One when the clock struck zero while she was on the Fly Hooks. But Tiana, in a powerful display, didn’t stop. She reached the cargo net and climbed to the buzzer, proving she’s got what it takes and she’ll never give up.
“Preparation (for Vegas) has been a lot of Warped Wall training. The last time I was in Vegas, I went out on the wall. Working on single-leg power with my coach. I’m ready to rock.
My expectations of myself are to get that buzzer. One obstacle at a time. I know I can’t take any obstacle for granted. But the goal is a buzzer, so I’m ready for it. Stage One Club.” - Tiana Webberley
Meagan Martin showed the struggle and the success of a veteran.
Meagan carried a lot of emotions with her through the season. Injuries and exhaustion were weighing on the eight-time veteran. She still managed to clear the Qualifying course for the first time since season eight. It was an emotional moment that had the first Women’s Champion in tears, highlighting the personal feelings the veterans contend with each season.
“The buzzer felt so good. I was so relieved. I started crying. I was like, ‘I can’t believe this happened. Now I can go home! And I hit a buzzer again. I feel so happy.’
I didn’t think I could put it together after being so exhausted. It felt like pure happiness. I was so excited.” - Meagan Martin