This is a long recap so we’re going to keep this intro short. Night two of the American Ninja Warrior National Finals brought us the conclusion of Stage One AND the start of Stage Two. 30 Ninjas remain to test themselves on Stage One, including Jesse Labreck’s highly anticipated bid for more history, and Joe Moravsky’s Safety Pass run. Let’s go!
- Slide Surfer
- Swinging Blades
- Double Dipper
- Jumping Spider
- Tire Run
- Warped Wall
- Dipping Birds
- Split Decision
- The High Road
- Fly Hooks
- Time limit: 2:45
Brett Sims: This is Brett’s 10th year of competition. He even took part in season one of the show. Brett always does well, although the Stage One buzzer has eluded him. Brett survived a near miss on Double Dipper and redeemed his confidence with a solid Jumping Spider completion. After missing his first Warped Wall attempt, Brett was down to 50 seconds. He sprinted down the course and made a really great bid to reach the buzzer. But a moment of hesitation on the Fly Hooks cost him the buzzer.
Result: Timed out on cargo net
Brittney Durant: The 20-year-old designer was out on the Swinging Blades.
Dan Champagne: After a great save on Double Dipper, Dan fell on the Jumping Spider.
Enzo DeFerrari Wilson: Enzo is the youngest person ever to attempt Stage One. He just turned 15 when he kicked off his season. To put it into context, this kid just got his driver’s permit. And he steered like a champ on Stage One. Enzo’s only hiccup was a stumble on Tire Run that he quickly corrected. He transferred to the cargo net with about 17 seconds left. We were a little nervous, but Enzo hit the buzzer with 2.33 seconds left on the clock.
Ryan Meeks: Ryan, who was the oldest competitor of the night at 39, had some bounces and bumps along the way, but he completed the course.
Jamie Rahn: This was Jamie’s seventh time at the National Finals. He kept his shoes firmly on, but we were shocked when he peeled off the Fly Hooks.
Result: Out on Fly Hooks
Meagan Martin: Meagan has been in pursuit of the Stage One buzzer for six seasons. In a downright heartbreaking turn of events, Meagan was out on the very first obstacle when she found herself too far forward on the sliders. It even slammed her into the landing pad.
Result: Out on Slide Surfer
Brian Burkhardt: Brian earned his Safety Pass on the Power Tower against Daniel Gil. But he wouldn’t need to use it. To us, it looked like he was late to catch the ring on The High Road, but no, Brian had this. He continued his breakout season by floating up to the ring and catching it with just one hand. He saved his Safety Pass for Stage Two if he needs it.
Tyler Yamauchi: Tyler must be loving this season! He just can’t stop hitting buzzers. With his adorable family cheering him on, Tyler was through to Stage Two.
R.J. Roman: R.J. is one of the few remaining Stage Three competitors from season 11 still trying to avoid “the curse.” But alas, R.J. struggled to jump the ring on the Fly Hooks. As time dripped away, R.J. chose to flip into the water.
Result: Timed out on Fly Hooks
Joe Moravsky: This was round two for Joe. He fell while trying to catch The High Road on night one. Using the Safety Pass to run again, we learned Joe actually had food poisoning. While his expression gave away his exhaustion, his moves did not. Joe dropped and clutched his stomach after Tire Run and opted to not move for The High Road this time. He was still grimacing on the Fly Hooks, but reached the buzzer with a great time, putting his season back on track.
Cara Mack: Cara was out on the Jumping Spider.
Heather Weissinger: Heather’s season ended on the Swinging Blades.
Bob Reese: He closed his year on the Double Dipper.
Kai Beckstrand: Kai continued to impress when he added one more buzzer to his growing collection.
Jonathan Godbout: Jonathan became the eighth teenager to open the gates to Stage Two.
Brett Hernandez Strong: Brett shared that he learned about American Ninja Warrior when his beloved grandmother introduced him to the show. He was with her when she passed away from multiple sclerosis. Brett had her in his heart when he went up the Mega Wall in the Qualifiers. On Stage One, it was utterly heartbreaking to watch Brett break down and apologize to his grandmother after his fall on the Swinging Blades.
Result: Out on Swinging Blades
Lance Pekus: Lance felt lucky before he even started the course. For the first time in a few years, his wife Heather was able to be with him on the sidelines. The last time Lance cleared Stage One was shortly after they revealed Heather’s MS diagnosis in season nine. We were hoping for another clear after Lance’s aggressive entrance to the Jumping Spider. However, he was spun off on Tire Run.
Result: Out on Tire Run
Josiah Pippel: With his proud mentor, Najee Richardson, watching on, the 15-year-old put together another great run and hit the buzzer.
Zhanique Lovett: Zhanique looked so strong as she put the Jumping Spider behind her, but her run came to a close on Tire Run.
Result: Out on Tire Run
Kyle Soderman: Kyle had a quick run, but in a good way. He made it to The High Road in time and cleared the course with 41 seconds left on the clock.
Jake Murray: Right behind Kyle, we had Jake, who loves speed and has already put up top times in the Qualifiers and Semifinals this season. On Stage One, he was flying along again. He cleared the first four obstacles in under 40 seconds. Jake activated The High Road and bolted. But the speed caused him to trip on the Dipping Birds. Jake caught himself and sprinted. There was no way he could grab the ring, right? There was. He still reached the ring and hit the buzzer with a mind-boggling 1:14 left on the clock.
Hunter Guerard: Hunter’s feet slipped out on the Jumping Spider, prompting him to finish the obstacle with just his hands. Then things got really bumpy. After stumbling on Tire Run, Hunter needed four attempts on the Warped Wall. After another fall on Dipping Birds, Hunter timed out.
Result: Timed out on Dipping Birds
Isaiah Wakeham: Isaiah had a standout run when he opted for The High Road, nabbed it, and cleared the course.
Jesse Labreck: We knew it was Jesse’s time to fulfill destiny. She already had two buzzers this season. She’s been so close to this buzzer three previous times. This HAS to be it, right? After a steady start, Jesse gave us a bit of a scary moment on Tire Run. Keeping an eye on the time, she pressed on. She had about 1:12 left after the Warped Wall. Jesse ignored The High Road and collected herself before the Dipping Birds. On the Fly Hooks, she had about 45 seconds remaining. It all came down to this. Jesse reached for the cargo net... And got it! With a huge smile on her face, she climbed to the buzzer as we all collectively screamed, “Finally!”
With that, we closed out Stage One and moved on to Stage Two!
- Striding Steps
- Double Salmon Ladder
- V Formation
- Hammer Drop
- Epic Air Surfer
- Falling Shelves
- Time limit: 3:30
- You can find the current leaderboard here.
- You can find the full Stage Two results from this episode here.
Elijah Browning: We kicked off Stage Two with the 16-year-old entrepreneur. This time, we learned how his grandmother from Seoul, South Korea, pushes him and encourages his Ninja Warrior career. Elijah showed us almost all of Stage Two. He had nice transitions on the Double Salmon Ladder and skipped some holds on V Formation (and lost his hat there). The new Hammer Drop sends the Ninjas for a ride before they have to climb on top of the obstacle and jump to the rope and wall between them and the rest of the course. All of which Elijah calmly handled. Epic Air Surfer is Air Surfer... but EPIC. Elijah made all the huge transfers.
Now here’s where Stage Two gets really tricky. The final obstacle is the Falling Shelves. We’ve seen it before, right? But the final X includes a blind, backward grab. Think Angry Birds. Uh oh. And that’s exactly where Elijah fell.
Result: Out on the Falling Shelves
Anthony Porter: Anthony showed us the dangers of Hammer Drop when it gave him a big toss into the water.
Result: Out on Hammer Drop
Tage Herrington: Tage almost slipped off the rope on Hammer Drop, but it was Air Surfer that would end his year.
Result: Out on Epic Air Surfer
Donovan Metoyer: His classy year came to a jolting end when he missed the rope on the Striding Steps.
Result: Out on Striding Steps
Vance Walker: At this point, the 16-year-old is a favorite to take the crown. But Vance showed us one of the downfalls of the Double Salmon Ladder. The top of the ladders are open, meaning the Ninjas have to control their final placement. They can’t just slam it in. Vance was a little too powerful and the bar popped off the top. A shock, but he has a Safety Pass and will run again.
Result: Out on Double Salmon Ladder
Tyler Gillett: Tyler was also out on the Double Salmon Ladder when he missed a rung.
Kevin Carbone: The obstacle designer looked strong on the Salmon Ladder and made big moves on V Formation, streamlining his way to safety. After a wild ride on Hammer Drop, Kevin needed a few extra swings to grip the wall. Looking tired, Kevin started on the Epic Air Surfer, but he was tapped out.
Result: Out on Epic Air Surfer
Max Feinberg: Max, 16, did “band nerds” proud this season. But he was doing it for his mom who is going through breast cancer. Max showed no hesitation in his run. But he never latched on to Hammer Down and slipped right off.
Result: Out on Hammer Down
Vance Walker: On this Safety Pass run, Vance must have felt a rush of relief as he put the Double Salmon Ladder behind him. He only needed two moves to get to the top of V Formation. Even when he initially missed with one hand, Vance had a great grip on Hammer Down. Back to being the top contender he’s proven himself to be, Vance controlled his Air Surfer hops. Facing the final obstacle with 47 seconds left, Vance shook out his arms and got to work. The timer blared and course flashed red as Vance reached for the blind grab and locked it in! He hit the buzzer and opened Stage Three!
We’ll find out if anyone else will join Vance next week on the season finale of American Ninja Warrior!