American Ninja Warrior Season 12 2020: Finals Part 1 Season 12 Episode 7
It’s time for the finals of season 12 of American Ninja Warrior. The top 28 ninjas are all that remain in this unique (but still exciting) season of ANW.
Here’s the format for the Finals:
The top 8 ninjas qualify for a single elimination Power Tower tournament, where the winner takes home the $100,000 prize.
Here’s a look at the Finals course:
Shrinking Steps, Spring Forward, Falling Shelves (new obstacle), Diamond Dash, Slingshot, Spin Hopper, Warped Wall, Salmon Ladder, Slam Dunk, Dragon Back (new obstacle) Spider Trap
Jackson Twait, 22-year-old Actuary
Twait became the first ninja to fall on the new Falling Shelves.
Jody Avila, 35-year-old HVAC Technician
There aren’t many callings in life where you have to apologize for being a big man.
But that is the nature of being a ninja. And the Big Dog is out to prove a 6’6 guy can be the best ninja.
Unlike Twait, Avila had no issue at all with Falling Shelves.
Unfortunately, Avila came up limping after completing Sling Shot.
Avila continued to favor the leg but had no issues making it to the back half of the course.
But after powering his way through Salmon Ladder, Avila’s hands slipped off the ball and he fell on Slam Dunk.
Flip Rodriguez, 31-year-old Stuntman
Flip’s been running for his dog Maui, who passed away this year.
Speed will be a factor in who makes the final 8, and Flip will go fast.
Rodriguez completed the first three obstacles quickly.
The fast pace continued up until Spin Hopper, where Flip took a measured approach.
On the 2nd half of the course, Flip showed some touch as he made his way past Slam Dunk.
But Flip was unable to handle the slide down on the first dragon on Dragon Back.
Jeri D’Aurelio, 30-year-old Army Captain
D’Aurelio is a lawyer who represents soldiers in the Army’s legal system.
D’Aurelio made easy work of the first two obstacles.
Unfortunately, she slipped and fell on Falling Shelves.
Michael Torres, 25-year-old Gym Manager
Torres had no issues working the first two obstacles, but Torres himself admitted he almost missed the middle handles on Falling Shelves.
But Torres shockingly slipped and fell on Diamond Dash.
Cameron Baumgartner, 22-year-old Pre-Med Student
Baumgartner’s enthusiastic mom can be heard loud and clear even though she’s not in the dome where her son is competing.
Like everyone else so far, Baumgartner had no issues with the first two obstacles.
But he would not have his run upended on Falling Shelves or Diamond Dash like several others have.
Despite showing some shake in the arms on the back half, Baumgartner pushed through and made it past Spin Hopper.
And on the back half, Baumgartner became the 2nd ninja to make it past Slam Dunk.
And oh how close Baumgartner came to completing Dragon Back.
But he didn’t let go of the bar at the end of obstacle 9 and the rotating platform pushed him back.
We’ll see if that is good enough to qualify for top 8.
Najee Richardson, 29-year-old Motivational Speaker
The Phoenix has been solid this season after a rough 2019.
And he thinks his work as a mentor on American Ninja Warrior Jr. helped him get out of that funk.
The new carefree Phoenix showed after Richardson put the first two obstacles quickly behind him.
He nearly slipped on Falling Shelves, but Richardson held on with one hand and he completed the third obstacle.
And another save was needed on Diamond Dash, but the Phoenix kept his run going.
Richardson advanced to the back half of the course and moved past Slam Dunk with little issue.
But could he be the first tonight to get past Dragon Back?
Turns out, he could!!!!
And with an amazing second wind, The Phoenix rose all the way up the Spider Trap and became our first finisher in the Finals.
Najee Richardson completes the course in 4:36.66.
Jamie Rhan, 32-year-old Gym Manager
Joined in progress, Rahn moved past the first half of the course.
Captain NBC continued his strong run moving past Slam Dunk.
But Rahn’s run ended on Dragon Back.
Dan Polizzi, 38-year-old Firefighter
Polizzi is proud to represent firefighters in a year when massive forest fires have been enveloping much of the country.
And Polizzi did them proud as he made quick work on the first three obstacles.
Unfortunately, Polizzi’s feet hit the water on Diamond Dash and his run ended.
Lucas Reale, 22-year-old Ninja Coach
Reale’s father died when he was 16. Now his grandparents are his most ardent supporters.
Reale has been one of the fastest competitors so far this season.
And the start of this course was no exception as Reale had no issues with the course’s first four obstacles.
Reale moved past the first half of the course and onto Slam Dunk.
I don’t think anyone tonight has pushed past 8 obstacles with fewer errors.
And that continued as Reale made (what looked like) easy work of Dragon Back.
And after making it up the Spider Trap, Reale hit the buzzer with the fastest time of the night so far!!!
Lucas Reale completes the course in 4:33.36.
Sandy Zimmerman, 44-year-old P.E. Teacher
Over lockdown, Zimmerman has been making videos for her students online.
Zimmerman completed the first two obstacles with little issue.
But Zimmerman couldn’t hold onto the third set of handles on Falling Shelves.
Donovan Metoyer, 33-year-old Gym Owner
How will the Classy Ninja follow up his 360 on the Wall earlier in the season?
He’s still sporting the tux he wears each round.
And Metoyer was moving through the first half of the course in style.
That is, until he slipped and fell on Spin Hopper.
Austin Gray, 24-year-old Ninja Coach
Gray gave his Kidney to his friend Kaylee two years ago.
He now speaks out to encourage other people to do the same.
Gray moved smoothly through the first part of the course.
Keeping a good pace, Gray moved onto the 2nd half of the course.
On Slam Dunk, Gray didn’t have a single misstep.
Gray took his time on Dragon Back.
And that careful approach paid off as Gray moved past obstacle nine.
And after making it up the Spider Trap, Gray hit the buzzer and completed the course!!!
Austin Gray completes the course in 4:40.29.
Tyler Gillett, 24-year-old Barista
Gillett is running this season in honor of his cousin, Bill, who is battling Stage 4 cancer.
Gillett’s been strong all season.
But he shockingly fell tonight on Spring Forward.
Chris DiGangi, 30-year-old Software Developer
DiGangi and fiancée Flex LaBreck usually finish at the same spot each season.
Will that be the case this season?
LaBreck sure hopes not.
DiGangi fell on the third obstacle.
Jesse ‘Flex’ LaBreck, 30-year-old Gym Owner
This is the last run of the night, so I suspect we are going to see something major here.
Flex got off to a great start completing the first three obstacles with no issue.
That included hitting the blind grab on Falling Shelves (and earning bragging rights over her fiancée).
LaBreck fought off near disaster as she slipped on Diamond Dash.
But face first, she made it to the platform and kept her run alive.
After climbing the Warped Wall, LaBreck prepared for the 2nd half of the course.
And Slam Dunk was no issue at all for Flex.
Just making it to the Dragon Back puts LaBreck into the top 8 for now.
But LaBreck wouldn’t have to settle for just getting there!!!!
After a tough push at the top of the 2nd Dragon, Flex made it over the barrier and completed obstacle 9.
Only three women have ever completed a 10 obstacle course.
Make that 4!!!
LaBreck fought through all 35 feet and hit the buzzer, becoming the night’s fourth finisher!!!
Jesse ‘Flex’ LaBreck completes the course in 7:31.02.
Top Ninja finalists so far, waiting to see if they advance to the power tower playoffs:
Failed on Dragon Back
Failed on Slam Dunk
Only the top 8 after both nights of finals advance.
Next will round out the Finals and then the Power Tower playoffs commence.
See you next week.