Wild Card Episode 2
S1 episode 11 Aired on May 7, 2018

By Nikki Lee

The second half of the American Ninja Warrior: Ninja vs Ninja wildcard round featured eight teams. This meant four match-ups were packed into just one hour. That equals a LOT of action, so let’s dive right in.

TL:DR: This episode was a lot to take in. Team Wolfpack and the Hashtag Ninjas moved on after sweeping the Hazard Brigade and the Big Dog Ninjas. The Beasts from the East beat the Wisco Warriors after four heats. The Ballers had an action-packed round against the Three Wishers, with The Ballers moving on.

The match-ups:

Beasts from the East vs Wisco Warriors
Hashtag Ninjas vs Big Dog Ninjas
The Ballers vs Three Wishes
Hazard Brigade vs Team Wolfpack

The obstacles:

Sonic Swing
Tick Tock
Ring Swing
Floating Tiles
Bungee Pipeline
Warped Wall


Remember, now the teams moved straight to playoffs if they won the match-up. There was no final round of the episode to make it through. This also meant there was no action on the extended course.

ROUND ONE:

Team Wolfpack

Ian Dory
Jeri D’Aurelio
Dan Yager


Hazard Brigade

Mike Bernardo
Grace Sims
Michael Needham

Heat one:

Dan Yager vs Mike Needham

Dan took the lead from the start, but things were close on the Ring Swing. Dan missed the first hook which allowed Mike to get ahead. Mike ran to the Bungee Pipeline while Dan attempted to catch up. Mike was almost off the obstacle when Dan opted for a bold move. Dan wrapped his hands right over Mike’s on the pole and somehow managed to twist around him. The maneuver sent Mike into the water and Dan off to the Warped Wall.

Point = Team Wolfpack

Heat two:

Jeri D’Aurelio vs Grace Sims
These Ninjas were off to a fast start. They were tied through the Ring Swing. Both landed the first hook. Jeri was slightly ahead on the dismount. She opened that lead further by reaching the Bungee Pipeline first. Grace soon joined her on the obstacle. While Jeri was finishing the Pipeline, Grace was sliding low, ultimately falling there. Jeri went on to complete the Warped Wall for the point.

Point = Team Wolfpack

Heat three:

Ian Dory vs Mike Bernardo
Mike needed to move fast if he wanted to keep his team in the game. This was a tight race. It wasn’t until the Floating Tiles that there was a clear distance between the Ninjas. Mike had a big fall on the Tiles but was able to stay in the game. This gave Ian the time to navigate the Bungee Pipeline. When Mike took a big leap to try to catch up, he landed low on the cords and fell there.

Point = Team Wolfpack

Team Wolfpack are into the playoffs.
Hazard Brigade is OUT.

ROUND TWO

Beasts from the East

James McGrath
Erica Cook
Dave Cavanagh

Wisco Warriors

Drew Knapp
Andrew Philibeck
Sara Heesen

Sara was injured in a previous run. She hurt her sternum on the Floating Tiles. She was replaced by alternate Christine Ahn for this match-up.

Heat one:

James McGrath vs Drew Knapp
James was off the Ring Swing first and moving quickly. Drew pushed his pace hard to keep up. Drew took a jump at the Floating Tiles and ended up with a giant splashdown.

Point = Beasts from the East

Heat two:

Erica Cook vs Christine Ahn
This race was abbreviated. Christine led through the Ring Swing but then fell out of the competition on the Floating Tiles.

Point = Beasts from the East

Heat three:

Dave Cavanagh vs Andrew Philibeck
Both competitors were fast from the start line. Andrew was leading by just a tiny bit. The Ninjas were almost in sync with one another. They were tied on the Ring Swing. They lunged for the Floating Tiles at the same time. Dramatically, they both fell at the same time on the Tiles. However, Andrew was able to keep his feet off the bottom of the pool and earned the point.

Point = Wisco Warriors

Heat four - relay:

Erica and Christine were at the starting line. Dave and Andrew were in the middle. James and Drew waited to handle the last two obstacles.

Erica led through the early obstacles. Christine slipped a little bit on Tick Tock. Erica gave Dave the advantage with the first tag. Andrew then missed his first hook on the Ring Swing. James was tagged in with a strong lead. He was almost done with the Bungee Pipeline when Drew was brought in. James was up the Wall with no competition.

Point = Beasts from the East

Beasts from the East are into the playoffs.
Wisco Warriors are OUT!

ROUND THREE:

Big Dog Ninjas

Jody Avila
Brandi Monteverde
Josh Salinas

Hashtag Ninjas

Nicholas Coolridge
Larissa Cottle
Jesse LaFlair

Heat one:

Jody Avila vs Nicholas Coolridge
Nicholas was ahead leading into the Ring Swing. He was off the obstacle cleanly while Jody struggled a little. Nicholas was navigating the Bungee Pipeline while Jody recovered from a fall on the Floating Tiles. Nicholas didn’t give up the lead and took the point.

Point = Hashtag Ninjas

Heat two:

Brandi Monteverde vs Larissa Cottle
Larissa led from the start while Brandi looked shaky on the Sonic Swing. Brandi missed the first hook on the Ring Swing. Larissa fell on the Tiles but it wasn’t a race-ender. Brandi then also fell on the Tiles, taking a hard shot to the chest and ending the heat.

Point = Hashtag Ninjas

Heat three:

Josh Salinas vs Jesse LaFlair
Josh had to win to prevent a sweep but both of these Ninjas were known for their speed. Josh pushed for the lead and flew down the course. Suddenly he whiffed the grab on the Bungee Pipeline and was out. Jesse took his time and completed the obstacle for the sweep.

Point = Hashtag Ninjas

Hashtag Ninjas are through to the playoffs.
Big Dog Ninjas are OUT.

ROUND FOUR

Three Wishes

Thomas Stillings
Brittany Hanks
Brian Burkhardt

The Ballers

Lorin Ball
Meiling Huang
Paul Kasemir

Three Wishes brought in alternate Geoff Lancaster for Brian Burkhardt, who was injured after a drop from Zig Zag Climb.

Heat one:

Paul Kasemir vs Geoff Lancaster
After a fast start, Geoff led into the Ring Swing. Both were off the obstacle at the same time. Geoff then led the charge into the Bungee Pipeline and optedto go right down the middle, complicating Paul’s experience on the obstacle. But things turned around when Geoff missed his grab on the Warped Wall. Paul shot past him for a come-from-behind win.

Point = The Ballers

Heat two:

Meiling Huang vs Brittany Hanks
This heat was abbreviated. Meiling led after the Ring Swing and held on to that edge. Brittany ended up going out on the Floating Tiles.

Point = The Ballers

Heat three:

Lorin Ball vs Thomas Stillings
Between Lorin and Thomas, you knew this was going to be a quick match. Thomas led into the Ring Swing and then shot off to the Floating Tiles. Both were on the Bungee Pipeline at the same time. Thomas grabbed the pipe first and was off and up the Wall. Lorin was right behind him. It was the fastest finish of the night at 37.85 seconds.

Point = Three Wishes

Heat four - relay:

Meiling and Brittany took the first position. Geoff and Lorin held down the second position. Paul and Thomas were at the end.

Meiling and Brittany started things off fairly evenly. Meiling tagged in Lorin first, but it was Geoff who completed the Ring Swing first. Then Lorin passed him on the Tiles. Geoff tripped there. This gave Paul the edge. He was off the Pipeline and up the Warped Wall in a blink.

Point = The Ballers

The Ballers are into the playoffs.
Three Wishes are OUT.

The Mitsubishi Drive of the Night when to the heat between Lorin Ball and Thomas Stillings. It was fast, thrilling and an excellent example of the action this format creates.

Next week:

On Monday, May 14, the playoffs begin! Four teams will attempt to continue their quest to reach the finals. We’ll see the Beasts from the East, NorCal Ninjas, Golden Hearts, and Iron Grip.