American Ninja Warrior season 12 recap: Night two of Qualifiers
American Ninja Warrior’s second night of Qualifying for season 12 amped things up quite a bit. The top 12 consisted entirely of course finishes, meaning it all came down to timing and not everyone who hit a buzzer made the cut.

Last night, we did see the Power Tower in action. The two fastest finishers raced side-by-side 40-feet in the air. The winner got to bring their entire group with them into the Semi-Finals. That meant a potential second chance was on the line and two Ninjas are back in the running thanks to one of their members.

The night was also stacked with huge names like Jesse Labreck and Daniel Gil. You better start reading to process all this action!
 

  • Shrinking Steps
  • Lunatic Ledges
  • Ring Chaser
  • Rib Run
  • Ferris Wheels
  • Warped Wall/ Mega Wall
Contestants:

  • Cassie Dierks:
    Cassie was part of an animal-loving group of Ninjas along with Roo Yori and Jackson Twait. The cat cafe owner even had her cat watching from the virtual sidelines. She didn’t have to keep kitty’s attention for too long when she fell on the Lunatic Ledges.
    Result: Out on Lunatic Ledges
  • Barry Goers:
    The former pro hockey player trains with Jake Murray in Colorado. He looked confident on the first few obstacles, even when he missed the ring on Ring Chaser. All those years on the ice helped his agility on Rib Run, which didn’t even move under his feet. The very strong rookie run came to an end while transitioning to the second Ferris Wheel.
    Result: Out on Ferris Wheels
  • Nicole Breske:
    Nicole was part of Taylor Amann’s pole vaulting group of Ninjas. The Florida State University vaulter was out on the second obstacle.
    Result: Out on Lunatic Ledges
  • Zane Paksi:
    Zane’s foot JUST grazed the water on Rib Run, but it was enough to end his season.
    Result: Out on Rib Run
  • Taylor Amann:
    Taylor was the leading woman at the Oklahoma City Finals last year. She made a good transition on Ring Chaser using the smaller ring, but made an unexpected exit on Rib Run.
    Result: Out on Rib Run
  • JJ Woods:
    The veteran sat out last season due to an injury. This year, he’s back with a purpose. JJ is one of the founding members of Ninjas For Black Lives. You can learn more about this important initiative here. They’re working to confront racial inequality through knowledge, growth, and unity. JJ’s season ended on the Ring Chaser, but the Ninjas For Black Lives message will live on with many other competitors this year.
    Result: Out on Ring Chaser
  • Ronald Washington:
    Ronald was part of JJ’s Florida group. He’s a part of law enforcement as a Fish and Wildlife officer. Ronald wore a blue headband to show his support for the police, as well as a Ninjas For Black Lives shirt. In season 11, Ronald went out on the Ferris Wheels. He almost made it past the obstacle this time, but the final drop splashed him down.
    Result: Out on Ferris Wheels
  • Ashley McConville:
    The Florida college student was running the course for her Uncle David, who has Down syndrome. The relationship between the two is a joy to watch. Ashley took to the course with the confidence of a seasoned veteran. She missed the large ring catch but had no issue using the small ring to complete the obstacle. After a good trip across Rib Run, she began navigating the Ferris Wheels. Ashley took the lower route, which requires more moves but she had the strength to back up the decision. At the Warped Wall, Ashley missed her first attempt by just her fingertips. We were terrified when she missed her second attempt by a much larger amount. Ashley backed up, took a big breath and.... became our first finisher of the night!
    Result: Complete
  • Jessica Clayton:
    The Marine Corp vet struck a powerful pose before her run. She made her exit after missing the ring on Ring Chaser.
    Result: Out on Ring Chaser
  • DeShawn Harris:
    DeShawn made it to the Ferris Wheels.
    Result: Out on Ferris Wheels
  • LaShaunda Dupree:
    The football player and personal trainer had Tyrese Gibson cheering her on. When she didn’t get a good bounce on the trampoline, she wasn’t able to attempt the Ring Chaser.
    Result: Out on Ring Chaser
  • Abel Gonzalez:
    Abel is a seven-time American Ninja Warrior veteran. He’s dedicated himself to inspiring his south Texas community to get and stay healthy. He snapped up the rolling ring and had total control on the transition. Abel whipped through the rest of the course to lock in another buzzer.
    Result: Complete
  • Gloria Orta:
    Gloria is one of Abel’s students. Her run ended on the Shrinking Steps.
    Result: Out on Shrinking Steps
  • Holly Cavazos:
    The mom of three also works and trains with Abel. After a tough childhood, drug use, and time in juvenile detention, Holly was ready for what Ninja Warrior training brought to her life. She was able to get through the Ring Chaser, but ended the day on Rib Run.
    Result: Out on Rib Run
  • Ethan Swanson:
    Ethan is well-known for his speed. Last season, he even won a Power Tower match up. Ethan does a backflip a day, and he’s racked up 730. He made that 731 when he ripped through the course and hit the buzzer, doing a backflip on top of the Warped Wall.
    Results: Complete
  • Cameron Baumgartner:
    Cameron ALMOST ended his run with a slip on the Shrinking Steps. He saved it and went on to finish the course just behind Ethan’s time.
    Results: Complete
  • Jack McCallie:
    Jack was hoping Ethan would make the Power Tower and potentially give him another chance after he was out on Lunatic Ledges.
    Results: Out on Lunatic Ledges
  • Donovan Metoyer:
    Donovan, part of Jamie Rahn’s group, ran the course in his trademark three-piece suit. He gave the Mega Wall a try but settled for a Warped Wall buzzer.
    Results: Complete
  • Jamie Rahn:
    Jamie was still in the midst of recovering from an confrontation between a table saw and his thumb. (Yuck.) Would that affect his grip strength? Apparently not. Jamie looked like a pro on the Ferris Wheels and skipped the Mega Wall to finish the course.
    Results: Complete
  • Akil Currie:
    Akil rounded out Jamie’s Missouri squad. He fell on the Lunatic Ledges.
    Results: Out on Lunatic Ledges
  • Kyle Worl:
    Kyle was the first of an all-Alaska group led by Nick Hanson. Kyle also fell on Lunatic Ledges.
    Results: Out on Lunatic Ledges
  • Christi Marie:
    Christie, also from Alaska, barely survived the Lunatic Ledges and made another save on Ring Chaser. She was tripped up on Rib Run.
    Results: Out on Rib Run
  • Nick Hanson:
    Always making the best of his situation, Nick rebuilt his home course after a huge storm tore it apart. We had a feeling Nick was eyeing the Mega Wall. He got it back in season 10 and $10k never hurts. Nick took a decent amount of time on the Ferris Wheels. That solidified that he wouldn’t make the Power Tower, but it opened the door to rest and focus before the Mega Wall. And it worked! Nick became the first Ninja of the season to hit the Mega Wall. However, when the leaderboard was revealed, Nick’s pacing knocked him out of the top 12.
    Result: Complete with Mega Wall
  • David Hutchinson:
    David ran the course in his cap and gown because he missed his high school graduation this year due to the pandemic. After a close call on Lunatic Ledges, he was out on Ring Chaser.
    Result: Out on Ring Chaser
  • Caitlyn Bergstrom:
    Caitlyn was a Vegas finalist in season 11. She had to haul herself to safety on Rib Run and faced the Ferris Wheels for the second time in her career. For the second time, she fell on the obstacle. However, it would put her in top three women for for the night.
    Result: Out on Ferris Wheels
  • Caleb Bergstrom:
    Caleb was a breakout rookie in season 11, and even earned the Mega Wall at just 19-years-old. Back at age 20, he was poised for big things, which is why everyone, including Caleb, was shocked when he slipped on Ring Chaser.
    Result: Out on Ring Chaser
  • Glenn Albright:
    Glenn was out on the Ferris Wheels. As part of Jake Murray’s group, his last hope would be a Power Tower battle.
    Result: Out on Ferris Wheels
  • Jake Murray:
    Jake was back without a flashy entrance, but shared that he now builds cat towers, because of course Jake Murray does. Jake hit the course knowing he had a chance to save his entire group if he went to the Power Tower and won. He linked moves and transitions to create one of the most impressive runs we’ve seen this season. Jake reached the fifth obstacle in under 30 seconds and didn’t even glance at the Mega Wall. He hit the buzzer in under one minute!
    Result: Complete
  • Jackson Twait:
    The cat-loving Jackson earned a Power Tower run in season 11. He had a leaderboard time once again, but it wasn’t quite enough to go back to the Tower.
    Result: Complete
  • Roo Yori:
    The K9 Ninja tried to earn some extra cash for his rescue and adoption foundation with the Mega Wall. That didn’t work out but he hit the buzzer anyway.
    Result: Complete
  • Brittany Holterman:
    Brittany was the first of Jesse Labreck’s group. Her run ended on Ring Chaser.
    Result: Out on Ring Chaser
  • Chris DiGangi:
    The veteran Ninja and Jesse’s fiancé made it to Stage Three last season. He started things off right with another course completion.
    Result: Complete
  • Jesse Labreck:
    After hitting a City Finals buzzer in season 11, she was ready to make history once again. Jesse only needed to reach the Ferris Wheels to make the top three for women, but there’s no way that’s all she wanted. She became the first woman to catch the ring on obstacle three. After clearing the fifth obstacle, Jesse raced up the Warped Wall. The buzzer was her fourth Qualifying finish in a row and positioned her as having more buzzers than any other female competitor in history.
    Result: Complete
  • Josh Norton:
    Josh is a janitor at Iron Sports in Texas where Daniel Gil also works. The competition was stiff tonight and Josh had to finish if he wanted to advance. Unfortunately, his run ended on Ring Chaser.
    Result: Out on Ring Chaser
  • Gabriel Hotchkiss:
    Also part of Daniel’s group, Gabriel is the youngest competitor, having just turned 19. He earned his first buzzer.
    Result: Complete
  • Daniel Gil:
    The final run of the night went to season 11’s runner up. Daniel has turned his second place finish into motivation for this year. If he could make the Power Tower, he could save Josh from Ninja graveyard. Also, Daniel was in position to beat the Mega Wall for the third year in a row. There was a lot to consider. Daniel hauled through the course and reached the Ferris Wheels in barely 30 seconds. There was a will he/won’t he moment when he hit the landing pad. Would he launch up the Warped Wall and try to get the Power Tower, or pause to set up for the Mega Wall? Daniel opted for the Mega Wall. He didn’t pause for long, but those few moments took him out of the running for the top two spots. He also didn’t get the $10k. Nevertheless, he completed the course and will advance.
    Results: Complete

Power Tower

The Power Tower consists of a grueling climb up the 4.5 foot steps, sliding down a pole, sprinting across steps, climbing back UP some poles, and then swinging across four dropping shelves 40-feet in the air. Whew!

  • Jake Murray vs Ethan Swanson

No free passes this season. For season 12, a win here meant that the winner’s entire group could advance to the Semi-Finals. On Jake’s side, that applied to both Glenn and Barry. On Ethan’s side, Cameron was already safe, but Jack could use the extra life.

With Jake and Ethan, we knew there would be zero room for error in this race. Both shot off the start line when the buzzer rang out. They stayed even until the climb back up the poles. Jake wrangled a small lead and clung to it. He reached the shelves ahead of Ethan and shot to the finishing platform. Both Glenn and Barry were back in the game!

Winner: Jake Murray

American Ninja Warrior returns on Monday, September 21, for night three of the Qualifiers.

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