Playoffs Episode 4
S1 episode 15 Aired on June 11, 2018

By Nikki Lee

The final showdown of the Ninja vs Ninja playoffs did not disappoint. The night was once again full of twists and turns and unpredictable endings. Four teams strived to join the three that have already qualified for the finals: Iron Grip, Labreckfast Club, and Party Time.

TL:DR: Team Ronin was met with some stiff competition from The Ballers. They took the win after all five heats. The Young Bloods tried out some fancy moves against the Lab Rats, but it was the Lab Rats who moved on. Team Ronin and the Lab Rats gave us a fantastic final round, with Meagan and Michelle both completing the extended course. When the dust settled, Team Ronin rounded out the final four.

The match-ups:

Team Ronin vs The Ballers
Lab Rats vs Young Bloods

The obstacles:

Sonic Swing
Tick Tock
Parallel Pipes
Floating Tiles
Hanging Staircase
Warped Wall
Salmon Ladder
Rumbling Dice
Zig Zag Climb

The rules are the same that were used during qualifiers. Each match-up is a best of five format. If there is no winner after three individual heats, we move to relay races. The winning teams face each other in a final round on the extended course. The first team to three points moves into the finals.

ROUND ONE

Team Ronin

Flip Rodriguez
Meagan Martin
JJ Woods

The Ballers

Lorin Ball
Meiling Huang
Paul Kasemir

Heat one:

Paul Kasemir vs JJ Woods
JJ had a bit of an advantage heading into the Parallel Pipes, but Paul tied things up when they both exited at the same time. When JJ got wet on the Floating Tiles, Paul had the edge. Things were tied again on the Hanging Staircase. Suddenly Paul leaped for the lead and nailed the dismount. JJ tried to catch up and the rush sent him into the water. Paul completed the course for the first point.

Point = The Ballers

Heat two:

Meiling Huang vs Meagan Martin
Meagan had yet to lose a race on Ninja vs Ninja. Meiling didn’t plan on handing over an easy win. Meiling took the lead first. She had a chance to give herself room on the Pipes when Meagan missed the first transition. However, Meiling struggled to get off the obstacle. This allowed Meagan to pass. In a blink, she was on the Hanging Staircase. Meiling moved to catch up, but Meagan was already off and running up the Warped Wall.

Point = Team Ronin

Heat three:

Lorin Ball vs Flip Rodriguez
This race was going to be all about speed, speed, and more speed. Flip was ahead going into the Pipes. He was also out first and sprinted onward. Suddenly he OUT was on the Tiles! Lorin didn’t stop to look back and ended up clearing the course although he already had the win.

Point = The Ballers

Heat four - relay:

Team Ronin found themselves on the bubble to be sent home. They HAD to win this one. Meiling and Meagan took the first leg. Lorin and JJ were in the middle. Paul and Flip were in the last position.

Meiling and Meagan raced through the first two obstacles to tag their teammates at the same time! On the Pipes, both JJ and Lorin had trouble reaching the second one. JJ was off first and tagged Flip. Lorin stumbled on the Tiles, bringing in Paul a little late. This meant Flip was able to reach the buzzer first.

Point = Team Ronin

Heat five - Relay:

That stunning finish forced the teams into a tie-breaker. They both chose the same run orders.

It was a close start again. Lorin was tagged in a little before JJ. JJ and Lorin flew through the obstacles together and tagged their teammates at the same time. Flip charged across the Staircase and up the Wall with Paul hot on his heels. WHEW. That race provided no time to breath for either team. Together, they put up the fastest relay of the season so far.

Point = Team Ronin

Team Ronin WINS.
The Ballers are OUT.

ROUND TWO

Lab Rats

Chris Wilczewski
Michelle Warnky
Brian Wilczewski

Young Bloods

Tyler Gillett
Bree Widener
Kevin Carbone

Heat one:

Chris Wilczewski vs Kevin Carbone
Kevin had a slight lead at the start and he used it to put a little strategy on the course. At the Parallel Pipes, he switched sides and grabbed Chris’ ring right as he was reaching for it. Then he was out of there. This threw Chris off a bit and he had to take two swings on the obstacle. But the veteran wasn’t out of the race. Kevin fell on the Tiles and was soaking wet. Chris overcame the setback and passed Kevin. Both were on the Staircase. Chris maintained his lead and was the first to leave the obstacle. Kevin fell in the water at the dismount while Chris ran up the Wall.

Point = Lab Rats

Heat two:

Michelle Warnky vs Bree Widener
Michelle got her feet wet on Sonic Swing, which is always a scary way to start a race. But she was still able to get through the Pipes first and across the Floating Tiles. She worked diligently on the Staircase while Bree came up behind her. Michelle was able to get off the obstacle and faced the Wall. We were worried her feet might be too wet from earlier, but she had no issue getting the grab.

Point = Lab Rats

Heat three:

Brian Wilczewski vs Tyler Gillett
Tyler had the early lead in this heat. Brian got very wet on the Sonic Swing. Brian spent the race trying to play catch up to Tyler’s impressive speed. He ended up falling on the Tiles, handing Tyler the clear win.

Point = Young Bloods

Heat four - relay:

The Young Bloods had to win this if they wanted to move on. Michelle and Bree were at the starting line. Chris and Tyler were in the middle. Brian and Kevin waited at the end.

This race was fast. No way around it. Michelle and Bree’s tags were so close together. Chris slipped perfectly through the Pipes and brought in Brian. Kevin was in behind him and Brian had to pour on the steam to stay ahead. He held on and whipped up the wall just in time to send the Young Bloods home.

Point = Lab Rats

Lab Rats WIN.
Young Bloods are OUT!

ROUND THREE

We now moved to the extended course for the last match-up of the night. This added in the Salmon Ladder, Rumbling Dice, and Zig Zag Climb.

Team Ronin vs Lab Rats

Heat one:

Chris Wilczewski vs JJ Woods
This heat was close at the start. Chris was again SO smooth through the Pipes and was gone. JJ had to take an extra moment to work on the obstacle. They were both on the Staircase, but the extended course provides plenty of time for changeups. Chris crossed over the Wall first, with JJ right behind him. They started the Salmon Ladder evenly. Chris only had a tiny lead on the Rumbling Dice. Both started the Zig Zag Climb. However, JJ’s footing slipped and Chris was able to reach the buzzer.

Point = Lab Rats

Heat two:

Michelle Warnky vs Meagan Martin
Both these Ninjas are undefeated in head to head races. That was going to have to change for one of them.

Meagan had the lead at the start and held it through the first portion of the course. Meagan paused before the Warped Wall, which let Michelle catch up. They crossed to the back half together. This was truly head to head. Meagan began the Salmon Ladder first, but it was Michelle who started the Rumbling Dice first. She completed the obstacle with Meagan just a second behind. Now they both faced the final climb.

To this point, Jesse Labreck had been the only woman to hit the buzzer on the extended course. Now both Michelle and Meagan were charging up the final obstacle.

It was anyone’s game as they neared the top. Out of nowhere, Michelle’s foot slipped a little. It was a brief moment but Meagan locked in and pushed for the lead. She hit the buzzer first, becoming the second woman to complete the extended course. Michelle became the third just seconds later.

That became the well-deserved Mitsubishi Drive of the Night.

Point = Team Ronin

Heat three:

Flip Rodriguez vs Brian Wilczewski
Flip had a slight lead into the Parallel Pipes and both competitors struggled a bit to leave the obstacle. Brian ran off first. Flip caught up to him on the Hanging Staircase and they were right on top of one another. In the chaos, Brian fell. Flip completed the obstacle to take the point.

Point = Team Ronin

Heat four - relay:

This was an interesting lineup. Meagan and Chris were at the start. Flip and Brian took the middle positions. This left Michelle facing off with JJ at the end.

Team Ronin was up a point, so the Lab Rats needed this win. Chris took the lead off the starting line, pulled another smooth run through the Pipes and tagged in Brian. Soon, Meagan tagged in Flip. Brian was on the Staircase and totally flying through it. Flip wasn’t far behind. Brian tagged Michelle, but JJ was right there with her. Both launched for the Salmon Ladder. Suddenly, Michelle missed a rung and plummeted into the water.

The win went to Team Ronin. The Lab Rats cooled off by joining Michelle in the water.

Point = Team Ronin

Team Ronin is through to the playoffs!
Lab Rats are OUT.

See you next week for the #NinjaVsNinja FINALS!

This is it! On June 18, the last four teams standing will fight for the championship. Tune in for the finale!

Iron Grip
Labreckfast Club
Party Time
Team Ronin