TV Recap: S09E01 – America Ninja Warrior Season 9 Los Angeles Qualifiers

America Ninja Warrior Season 9 Los Angeles Qualifiers

Your Announcers: Matt Iseman, Akbar Gbajabiamila, and Kristine Leahy

Your Opening Song: Coldplay/ “Miracles”

The Course, In Order: Floating Steps, Cannonball Drops, Flywheel, Block Run, Battering Ram, Warped Wall

  1. Mike Ibasco, 35

The best part of Mike’s story was the zoo and the scenery (with beautiful snowy mountains where he trains. I realized I didn’t get what Mike does for a living right before he fell hard on his back on the cannonball drop.

  1. Kevin Debrun, 27 year old NASA Engineer

Kevin completed the first stage with a little too much optimism. After falling at the end of the flywheel, Akbar pulls out his first pun of the night: “The rocket scientist should have been smarter.” Brilliant.

  1. Anna Christenson, 27 year old Construction worker

With her kids watching from home on a tablet, Anna became the first competitor to make it past the flywheel and block run stages. But Anna was unable to complete the first leap on battering ram, ending her run.

Three more competitors tried and failed after the commercial in truncated fashion before our next competitor, Joe Heiden.

  1. Joe Heiden, Cancer Fighter

A touching story here: Joe survived stage 3 cancer and used his training for American Ninja Warrior as a way to build his strength back up following surgery.

Unfortunately, Joe’s cancer came back, this time at stage 4.

As for his run, Joe was able to complete the floating steps and almost held onto the platform on cannonball drops before falling into the water.

But still a very inspirational story. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Joe.

  1. Paige Chapman, Message Therapist

The five foot tall mom from California had the crowd going crazy through four stages. And she advanced farther than anybody else up to this point, making it to the battering ram before falling.

Kacy Catanzaro, the first woman to ever complete the course does an interview in LA. She’s competing in San Antonio next week.

  1. Daniel Moreno, 33 year old former Army Staff Sargent

Daniel suffered a seizure before heading to staff training school for the Army. He drew blood hitting the first flywheel on the third stage. With blood streaming down his face, Daniel ran over the block run like he was walking on air.

Daniel became the first competitor to face the warped wall. On the third try, he got a brief grip before slipping and falling.

Three more athletes, including a former finalist, have their falls highlighted after the break. Twelve competitors so far and we are still looking for someone to complete the course.

  1. Anthony Trucks, 33 year old former NFL Linebacker

The former Oregon Duck nearly fell on block run. But he saved himself and advanced to battering ram, a fifth stage he completed easily.

And on his first try for the warped wall, the first timer became the first competitor to complete the course.

Anthony Trucks, Course Completed, 2:20.76

  1. April Steiner Bennett, 36 year old former Olympian

The former Olympian swung and ran easily through the first four stages (only the third woman to ever make it that far).

But she could not hold on at the battering ram as the fifth stage takes another victim. But the announcers make sure we know April has a shot to make top 5 amongst females with her performance.

Three more failures are highlighted before the break.

And after the break, 6 time finalist David Campbell was knocked out. Natalie Duran fell as well, but make note, she may be good enough to advance. And stuntman Tyler Vogt made it to the wall before coming up short.

  1. Kevin Bull, 32 year old Stock Trader

Kevin is competing for the fifth time, and he makes this all look ridiculously easy. Running for kids with the Children’s Alopecia Project, Kevin became the night’s second finisher with the evening’s fastest time.

Kevin Bull, Course Completed, 2:20.76

Following the break, Tarzan and Alan Connealy (veterans of the course) both failed in their attempts

Josh Levin, however did complete the course, the first truncated course runner to finish and the third to complete the course so far.

Josh Levin, Course Completed, Time Not Revealed

  1. Riles Neganda, 28 year old Tow Truck Driver

Riles’s kids are just too freaking adorable!!! The show got more shots of them cheering than of Riles completing the course (which was a very smart production move because, like I said, they are just too freaking adorable!!!).

The tow trucker nearly fell on block run, but held on just barely. And after missing his first attempt badly on the Warped Wall, Neganda made it up the 2nd time easily.

Riles Neganda, Course Completed 3:02.85 (Who by the way, “can’t swim” according to the cutest kids on TV).

Three more people are highlighted after the break, and none of them made it.

  1. Zhanique Lovett, 30 year old personal trainer

Zhanique is another great story as the former teen mom overcome a mom with a drug addiction to have a really wonderful family.

Lovett used some great footwork to stay alive on flywheel. Passing over block run guaranteed Zhanique’s spot in the seminfinals.

And with her son back-flipping repeatedly on the side, Lovett became the first woman on the night to make the warped wall. She didn’t make it up, but the mother of four will be moving on to the semis.

Before the break, we are reminded the battering ram has taken a number of victims tonight.

And after the break, we get a juggler competitor, Anton Reichel, completing the course. Adam Reyal also qualified. But the third competitor after the break fell on, guess what, the battering ram.

  1. Tianna Wemberly, 25 year old waitress

In Tianna’s third season competing, Tianna assured herself a spot moving forward after making it across the block run.

But “Sweet T” became another victim of the battering ram.

  1. Benjamin Humphreys, 22 year old hairstylist

Ben is running for his brother, who struggles with autism. Ben became the third person of the night to hit the flywheel hard, hitting his nose on the first one. But he did complete the third stage and cruise to the warped wall, where Ben finished the course on his first attempt up.

Benjamin Humphreys, Completed Course, 3:21.46

After the break, bus driver Tim Schnee became the first competitor to fall off the course. The other guy highlighted after the break, Sean Bryan, did complete the course in “one of the fastest times of the night.”

  1. Flip Rodriguez, 28 year old stuntman

The veteran and fan favorite, sans mask (a very nice piece describing the meaning of the mask and showcasing Flip’s motivational speaking), dominated the course, running straight from the end of battering ram to the warped wall. Post run interview, Kristine Leahy helped give Flip a new nickname: “Flippy.”

Flip “Flippy” Rodriguez, Course Completed, 1:58.28

Charlie Andrews and Nick Hanson (the Eskimo Ninja) both completed the course as highlighted after the commercial break.

  1. Grant McCartney, 28 year old flight attendant

The “Island Ninja” spent some time between seasons in Alaska training and seeking adventure with Nick Hanson. The highlight was the igloo with Wi-Fi.

As expected, the “Island Ninja” completed the course successfully. But he also recorded the night’s fastest time.

Grant McCartney, Course Completed, 1:26.37

The Qualifiers in Los Angeles were:

  1. Grant McCartney
  2. Adam Rayl
  3. Kevin Bull
  4. Brian Wilczewski
  5. Sean Bryan
  6. Ryan Robinson
  7. Nick Hanson
  8. Flip Rodriguez
  9. Gabe Hurtado
  10. Anthony Trucks
  11. Brent Bundy
  12. Robin Pietschmann
  13. Jackson Meyer
  14. Kapu Gaison
  15. Josh Levin
  16. Riles Nganda
  17. Westley Silvestri
  18. Charlie Andrews
  19. Benjamin Humphrys
  20. Sander Odish
  21. Anton Reichel
  22. Steve Seiver
  23. Daniel Moreno (Failed On Warped Wall)
  24. Zhanique Lovett (Failed on Warped Wall)
  25. Tyler Vogt (Failed on Warped Wall) 
  26. Alan Connealy (Failed On Battering Ram)
  27. David Campbell (Failed on Battering Ram) 
  28. Scott Willson (Failed on Battering Ram)
  29. C. Halik (Failed on Battering Ram) 
  30. Tiana Webberley (Failed on Battering Ram)

And the top five women moving on were:

  1. Zhanique Lovett
  2. Tiana Webberly
  3. April Steiner Bennet (Failed on Battering Ram)
  4. Rebekah Bonilla (Failed on Battering Ram)
  5. Natalie Duran (Failed on Battering Ram)

San Antonio, Texas will be the location of next week’s qualifier. See you then.

Photo Credit: Ryan Tuttle/NBC | 2017 NBCUniversal Media, LLC

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