TV Recap: S12E01 – American Ninja Warrior Season 12 Qualifying Round 1 2020

American Ninja Warrior Season 12 2020: Qualifying Round 1 Season 12 Episode 1

It is time for a new season of American Ninja Warrior it what is the most unique version of the show we have seen so far.

COVID-19 sent any plans of a normal ANW season out the window. No crowds, no city qualifiers, and no Las Vegas.

Instead, what we have is an 8-week competition all inside the Enterprise Center in St. Louis featuring the Top 50 ninjas. And each ninja brought two friends to compete in season 12.

There will be four weeks of qualifying with the top 12 qualifiers and top 3 women from each week moving on to the semifinals.

Then, two weeks of semifinals will advance the top 12 qualifiers and top 2 women to the finals. And the top ninja takes home a $100,000 prize.

Here’s a look at the qualifying course:

Shrinking Steps, Weight for It (new obstacle), Ring Chaser (new obstacle), Rib Run (new obstacle), Slingshot, Warped Wall

And the 18-foot Mega Wall is still in play with a $10,000 prize for anyone who can climb it.

Robert Moffitt, 35-year old school teacher

Moffitt was brought here by Alyssa Beird (one of two teachers here with her).

Moffitt credits training for American Ninja Warrior with helping him cope with the loss of his grandmother.

Moffitt set a good example as the first ninja to attempt (and complete) Weight for It.

Then, on the third obstacle, Moffitt grabbed the ring on Ring Chaser just before it fell in the water and used it to complete the first half of the course.

Moffitt’s run ended, however, on Rib Run.

Kamerion Wimbley, former NFL Linebacker

Wimbley is part of a group of ninjas brought here by Grant McCartney because of their massive size by ninja standards.

Wimbley is the heaviest competitor on the course this season at 240 pounds.

And that weight was just too much for the course’s 2nd obstacle.

Pauline Avila, 35-year old ICU Nurse

Pauline is Jody Avila’s wife. She works in a COVID ICU in a Houston hospital. Avila picked his wife as a much-needed respite from the job she has been doing in 2020.

Avila completed the first obstacle but missed the bar at the start of Weight for It.

John Huie, 42-year old Music Teacher

The other ninja Alyssa Beird brought conducted his family virtually in a brief musical performance before his run.

Huie’s run got off to a great start with the music teacher completing both of the first two obstacles.

Huie was unable to run down the big ring on the third obstacle, but he still completed Ring Chaser.

But like Beird’s other fellow teacher, Huie fell at Rib Run.

During the break… (first time this season!!!)

Shelia Williams fell on Shrinking Steps.

Sandy Zimmerman, 44-year old PE Teacher

Zimmerman is back after becoming the first mom to hit a buzzer on ANW.

And Zimmerman’s experience showed as she made quick work of the first two obstacles on the course.

Zimmerman just missed the big ring on Ring Chaser. That caused her some problems initially on the third obstacle. But Zimmerman kept her composure and moved forward to Rib Run.

And Zimmerman became the first ninja so far (and first ninja ever) to complete obstacle four.

Zimmerman’s run would end towards the end of Sling Shot, but she did put in the night’s best time so far.

During the break…

Rusty Rivera and Nichelle Simon both fell on Weight for It.

Casey Suchocki fell on Slingshot.

Nate Hansen, 20-year old Business Student

Hansen is 5 feet 2 because of a growth hormone deficiency he was diagnosed with as a kid. He goes by the nickname “the Gnarly Ninja.”

And the “Gnarly Ninja,” after flying through the first two obstacles, grabbed the ring on Ring Chaser and used it to keep up his amazing pace.

Hansen showed zero flaws on the next two obstacles.

And the rookie announced his arrival on the ninja scene, becoming the first ninja tonight to make it up the Warped Wall and hit the buzzer!!!

Nate Hansen completes the course in 1:53.09.

During the break…

Kenneth Edwards fell on Weight for It.

Sloane Cameron fell on Rib Run.

Dave Cavanagh fell on Rib Run.

Flip Rodriguez, 31-year old Gym Owner

Flip’s dog, Maui, passed away this year.

And Flip will be running this year in honor of his fallen friend.

He’s also wearing the “Ninja for Black Lives” shirt this season.

Flip made quick work of the course’s first two obstacles.

On Ring Chaser, Flip was waiting on the ring before he used it to make it past the halfway point of the course.

Without a single misstep, Flip stayed on his feet to the end of Rib Run.

But Flip lost hold of the bar on Sling Shot.

During the break…

Peter Liston fell on Ring Chaser.

David Alvarez fell on Sling Shot.

Allyssa Beird, 29-year-old Teacher

Can Beird hit her fifth buzzer tonight?

She got off to a good start completing the first two obstacles.

Beird just missed the ring on Ring Chaser. But she still completed obstacle three with few issues.

And Rib Run was no match for Beird.

Beird took her time to catch her breath before attacking Sling Shot.

Beird took her time making sure the bar was just right before moving onto the next bar throughout the fifth obstacle.

And Beird became the second ninja on the night to make up the Warped Wall and hit the buzzer!!!

Allyssa Beird completes the course in 04:15.10.

During the break…

Michael Johnson fell on Sling Shot.

Dilan Gomih fell on Weight for It.

Anthony Eardley, 29-year old Welder

Before taking the course, Eardley encouraged everyone to fight through these hard times together.

Eardley brought plenty of personality has he made his way through the first half of the course.

But Eardley just missed the hook on Ring Chaser and his run ended.

Tegan Roobal, 35-year old Physical Therapist

Tegan trains kids with special needs in ninja.

And Roobal showed her skills early one as she completed the first two obstacles.

But Roobal fell on Ring Chaser.

During the break…

Chellsie Memmel fell on Weight for It.

Jonathan Horton fell on Sling Shot.

Ryan Lashoff (who trains in hockey gear for ninja) fell on Sling Shot.

Tyler Gillett hit the buzzer with the night’s fastest time so far!!!!

Hunter Hollingshead, 25-year old Aerospace Engineer

Hunter is the first of the “Flying Freckles” as he and his brother Nolan are here with Jon Alexis Jr.

Some swings were uneven, but Hollingshead did manage to complete Weight for It.

Picking up the pace, Hollingshead grabbed the ring on Ring Chaser and used it to complete the third obstacle.

Hollingshead ran out of gas by obstacle five, and his run ended on Sling Shot.

During the break…

Nolan Hollingshead fell on Ring Chaser.

Mike Wright, 32-year old Team USA Diving Coach

Wright has new baby boy this year, and his son has a “baby speedo” when joining dad in the pool.

“The Speedo Ninja” is on the course looking for his first buzzer ever. And he got off to a great start completing the first two obstacles.

Wright caught the ring on Ring Chaser and continued his flawless run through the first half of the course.

Wright skipped some ribs on Rib Run as he prepared for Sling Shot, an obstacle he fell on twice last season.

But this time, Wright made it through obstacle five on his way up the Warped Wall.

And Mike Wright has hit his first buzzer!!!!

Mike Wright completes the course in 03:45.41.

During the break…

Julius Ferguson hit the buzzer!!!!

Taylor Johnson fell on Sling Shot but will advance to the semifinals!!!

Grant McCartney, 32-year old Ninja Coach

McCartney has been using fruit to train for ninja this year (OK???)

McCartney is not known for his pace, and he started with a  very deliberate pace through the first two obstacles.

“The Island Ninja” didn’t catch the large ring on Ring Chaser. But he still found his way past the third obstacle.

McCartney’s pace picked up on Rib Run, but his time was still not on pace with some of the faster ninjas.

But his time would not matter at all as McCartney clinched his spot in the semifinals after completing the fifth obstacle.

Next stop for the Island Ninja: the MEGA WALL!!!

But McCartney lost traction on the way up.

“The Island Ninja” did make it up the regular wall, clocking in with another buzzer!!!

Grant McCartney completes the course in 4:01.16.

During the break…

Roge’t Maddox fell on Weight for It.

Jody Avila, 35-year old HVAC Technician

Avila has been getting trained by his son, Brandon.

The big man was well above the bar on Weight for It as he completed the 2nd obstacle.

The big wingspan proved a great advantage as Avila waited for the ring on Ring Run.

After completing Rib Run, Avila clinched his spot to the Semifinals.

Now, can he get the top time?

And Avila got it with less than a second to spare!!!!

Jody Avila completes the course in 1:44.40.

Power Tower

Note that the Power Tower competition was not aired this episode, due to editing reasons. However, it’s been reported that Jody Avila competed and won.

Top Ninja Qualifiers advancing to the Semifinals:

Completed Course

  1. Jody Avila
  2. Tyler Gillett
  3. Nate Hansen
  4. Jon Alexis Jr.
  5. Julius Ferguson
  6. Mike Wright
  7. Grant McCartney
  8. Allyssa Beird

Failed at Sling Shot

  1. Flip Rodriguez
  2. Jonathan Horton
  3. Ryan Lashof
  4. Taylor Johnson

Top 3 Women advancing to the Semifinals:

Completed Course

  1. Allyssa Beird

Failed at Sling Shot

  1. Taylor Johnson
  2. Sandy Zimmerman

We’ll continue the march through qualifying next week.


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