America Ninja Warrior Season 9 Cleveland Qualifiers
Your Announcers: Matt Iseman, Akbar Gbajabiamila, and Kristine Leahy
The Course, In Order: Floating Steps, Rolling Log, Razor’s Edge (New Obstacle), Ring Jump, I-Beam Gap (New Obstacle), Warped Wall
Not as many new obstacles in Cleveland as there were in Kansas City. But putting one right before the Warped Wall could prove tough for the competitors.
1 Michael Nowoslawski, 22 year old Marketing Student
Michael built a course in the back yard to train and received a golden ticket on a news report in his back yard. Willie Wonka personally presented the ticket (har har har).
The first competitor televised rarely makes a strong run, but Mike made a decent showing on his first attempt coming just short on the fourth obstacle, the Ring Jump.
- Shanon Paglieri, 47 year old Physical Therapist
Shanon is another ninja debut tonight. She’s also another case of a competitor whose health issues led her to train for American Ninja Warrior.
Shanon fought for all she had to make it through floating steps and made it. That was the only obstacle she completed, but still a very spirited run by Shanon.
After the break, Melody Schofield and Rex Alba both fell on the 3rd and 4th stages respectively.
- Mark Riberio, 32 year old Fitness Instructor
Riberio made it farther than any runner on the night making it to the course’s fifth stage, the I-Beam Gap, before falling.
- Annika Nieshalla, 22 year old Nursing Student
Annika almost had her arm amputated when a doctor discovered she had cancer there.
Annika nearly fell off the Razor’s Edge, but she held on and pulled herself up to complete the third stage. Annika did fall on the Ring Jump, however, ending her run.
- Michelle Warnky, 32 year old Gym Owner
Michelle is the first of the “fantastic four” (the group of women who all made top 30 in Philadelphia last year).
But Michelle had a disappointing run this year as she fell near the end of the fourth obstacle, the Ring Jump.
- PJ Walsh, 45 year old Comedian
The running joke for the comedian is that he always loses on logs. And how convenient for there to be a log obstacle on the second stage of this course.
This time, however, Walsh finished the Rolling Log. But it was Razor’s Edge that would prove to be his undoing this year. I guess now obstacles named after shaving equipment will become PJ’s new personal curse.
Before the break, Naeem Mulkey, Kevin Wang, and Derek Matthews all fell at I-Beam Gap. There sure have been a lot of “No’s!!!!!” from Akbar tonight.
After the break, Katie Tennant fell on the first stage. Phillip Hocke went down on Razor’s Edge. And James Wilson fell on the ring jump with a premature jump.
- Alyssa Beird, 26 year old School Teacher
The second member of the “fantastic four” is now dating fellow ninja, James McGrath.
Beird took a unique approach to Ring Jump going backwards on the first row. Beird made it all the way to the I-Beam Gap, where she became the first competitor to complete the stage on the night.
And not only that, but she became the first woman to hit a buzzer this season.
Alyssa Beird, Course Completed, 6:20.32
- James McGrath, 35 year old Ninja Coach
And speaking of Alyssa’s man, James “the Beast” McGrath is up next.
Impressive form on the I-Beam Gap and an easy march up the Warped Wall made “The Beast” the night’s second finisher.
James McGrath, Course Completed, 3:10.22
- Lucio Battista, 26 year old Virtual Chef
“The Mustache Ninja” has something called an “English Style Mustache” that hideously stretches 15 inches across his face.
And “the Mustache” was rolling until he stalled and fell on the second part of Ring Jump.
After the break, Amy Pacjic fell on Ring Jump, while Alexi Matousek made it all the way to I-Beam Gap before falling.
- Najee Richardson, 26 year old Fitness Coach
“The Phoenix,” Najee Richardson was one of the breakout stars of 2016.
And watching Najee’s qualifying run makes clear why. I think we should rethink the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe and recast Najee Richardson as Spider-Man (I know, I know, a fourth Spider-Man).
Najee Richardson, Course Completed, 3:28.58
After the break, Rachel Goldstein of the “Fantastic Four” fell on the Ring Jump. Tori Clement also fell on Ring Jump, but her run looks good enough to advance.
- Sarah Poulin, 32 year old Accountant
Sarah tragically lost her son in October because of a tumor in his brain. Sarah’s run is for him.
Unfortunately, Sarah fell on the Rolling Log.
You could tell the post-race interview was very tough for Sarah. I do hope she’s able to come back and do better next season.
- Mike Bernardo, 37 year old Firefighter
Ninja star Mike’s father is recovering from cancer surgery and on hand to watch Mike’s run.
And Mike elbow dropped the buzzer for him.
Mike Bernardo, Course Completed, 3:47.59
After the break, Jon Alexis Jr. fell at I-Beam Gap, Jamie Rhan completed the course, and Nascar Driver Ryan Blaney fell at Razor’s Edge.
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr, 29 year old Nascar Driver
Last year, Stenhouse fell on the Log Roll (and how convenient once again for a competitor to be here at the only qualifying course with that obstacle).
He made it past the log this year and one more obstacle as well before falling on Ring Jump.
- Matthew Guardo, 54 year old AT@T Engineer
“The Pocono Ninja” could also be named the “Antique Collector Ninja.” But that just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Guardo lost his shoe on Log Roll, so he decided to throw of the other shoe as well.
“The Barefoot Ninja” (I think that name might stick) made it all the way to the middle of the Ring Jump before falling in the middle of the obstacle.
After the break, AJ Paratore’s flaming sword was not enough to get past Ring Toss, Mike Myers fell at I-Beam Gap, and Michael Torres finished the course.
- Joe Moravsky, 28 year old Weather Man
Moravasky had another sad story (one of many in Cleveland tonight). “The Weather Man” recently lost his uncle, who’s been on the show previous seasons supporting him.
And Joe honors him with the night’s fastest time.
Joe Moravsky, Course Completed, 2:32.77
After the break, Chris Warnky (Michelle’s Dad) fell to Razor’s Edge, Anthony DiFranco recorded the night’s fastest time, and Chris DiGangi (Jesse LeBreck’s boyfriend) completed the course as well.
- Jesse LeBreck, 27 year old Caretaker
Another montage of Ninja love airs before Jesse’s run. She hit the buzzer last year and is looking for a repeat performance.
And “Flex” did just that, hitting the buzzer for the 2nd straight year.
Jesse LeBreck, Course Completed, 4:22.07
For the first time, 2 women hit the buzzer in the same qualifying round.
And Your Top 30 From Cleveland….
- Anthony DeFranco
- Joe Moravsky
- Sean Noel
- Dan Galiczynski
- James McGrath
- Najee Richardson
- Judas Licciardello
- Michael Torres
- Mike Bernardo
- Chris DiGangi
- Jamie Rahn
- Jesse LeBreck
- Tyler Cravens
- Allyssa Beird
Failed On Warped Wall
- Matthew Ilgenfritz
Failed on I-Beam Gap
- Jon Alexis Jr.
- Mike Meyers
- Cory Cook
- Derek Mathews
- Naeem Mulkey
- Samer Delgado
- Mark Ribeiro
- Alexi Matousek
- Kevin Weng
- Patrick Lavanty
- Steve Allen
- Jonathan Angelilli
- Mike Shuck
- Fabio Figueiredo
- Daniel Arnold
And your Top 5 Women…
- Jesse Labreck
- Alyssa Beird
Failed on Ring Jump
- Tori Clement
- Michelle Warnky
- Annika Nieshalla
One more week of qualifying is all that remains. That last stage is in Denver. See you next week.
Photo Credit: Eddy Chen/NBC | 2017 NBCUniversal Media, LLC