Qualifying Week 4
S2 episode 9 Aired on May 9, 2017

By Nikki Lee

Week four of the Team Ninja Warrior qualifiers gave us four teams all captained by American Ninja Warrior National Finalists from season 8. These teams featured veterans and rookies who were all operating at the top of their game.

There were wildly popular Ninjas like Daniel Gil, Kevin Bull, Chris Wilczewski and Najee Richardson. But the rookies brought something special to this episode too. Keep your eyes on Barclay Stockett as an important member of Iron Grip.

TL:DR: This was a gloriously fierce battle for the finals. The Lab Rats won both their match ups, but were sent home after an exhausting relay run against Iron Grip. Kevin Bull’s Team Grit and Najee Richardson’s Phoenix Force all put in heartfelt runs, but their road to glory stops here.

The match ups:

  • Team Grit vs Phoenix Force
  • Lab Rats vs Iron Grip

A refresher on the Team Ninja Warrior rules is at the bottom of this article.

The Obstacles:

  • Sonic Swing
  • Ring of Fire
  • Swing Jump
  • Floating Tiles
  • Pole Grasper
  • Warped Wall

The Teams:

Team Grit

  • Kevin Bull
  • Lance Pekus
  • Maggi Thorne

Phoenix Force

  • Najee Richardson
  • Dan Galiczynski
  • Cassie Craig

Heat One:

  • Team Grit’s Lance vs Phoenix Force’s Dan

Lance took the first dismount from the Ring of Fire, while Dan struggled a bit. Lance built a strong lead and took to the Pole Grasper. Dan did meet him there, but ended up falling on this week’s new obstacle. Lance finished the course for the first win.

Point= Team Grit

Heat Two:

  • Team Grit’s Maggi vs Phoenix Force’s Cassie

Maggi took a hard fall off the Ring of Fire. She grabbed the edge of the pool, but when the whole mat tore away, she was disqualified. Cassie finished the Ring to earn the point.

Point= Phoenix Force

Heat Three:

  • Team Grit’s Kevin vs Phoenix Force’s Najee

The two Ninjas were all tied up when they reached the Swing Jump. Kevin missed his first grab for the cargo net, giving Najee the chance to pull ahead. Najee was all the way to the Pole Grasper while Kevin still struggled. He didn’t waste his lead and secured the win with a buzzer-hit.

Points= Phoenix Force

Winner of Round One: Phoenix Force

Round Two would see the Lab Rats take on Iron Grip.

The Teams:

Lab Rats

  • Chris Wilczewski
  • Brian Wilczewski
  • Michelle Warnky

Iron Grip

  • Daniel Gil
  • Nate Burkhalter
  • Barclay Stockett


Heat One:

  • Lab Rats’ Chris vs Iron Grip’s Nate

Chris got his feet wet early on the Sonic Swing, but it didn’t hold him back. He quickly tied it back up. Nate ended up falling from the Floating Titles, giving Chris the win. However, while he had the point, Chris seemed to have strained his shoulder leaving the Pole Grasper.

Point= Lab Rats

Heat Two:

  • Lab Rats’ Michelle vs Iron Grip’s Barclay

Both Ninjas got stuck for a long moment on the Ring of Fire. Barclay managed to dismount first, but Michelle was close behind. Michelle paused briefly at the Floating Tiles, which let Barclay cross first. They matched up again on the Pole Grasper, actually both using the same pole at one point.

The intense race came to a head when Barclay finished the Pole Grasper first. She tore off for the Warped Wall but missed her first attempt. This let Michelle catch up, take the Wall and take the point.

Point= Lab Rats


Heat Three:

  • Lab Rats’ Brian vs Iron Grip’s Daniel

Brian got the first dismount off the Ring of Fire, but Daniel was right there behind him. It seemed like only a second passed before they were both at the Pole Grasper. Daniel seemed dangerously low, but recovered, even working his path to cut Brian off. The strategy paid off as he finished the obstacle first and nailed his first attempt at the wall. Brian was close behind, but the point went to Daniel, forcing sudden death.

Points= Iron Grip


Sudden Death:

  • Lab Rats’ Brian vs Iron Grip’s Daniel

Rematch! Both teams decided to send in the same competitors again. But it wouldn’t be a hard fought race like last time. Daniel missed the dismount off the Ring of Fire, handing the win to the Lab Rats.

Point= Lab Rats

Winner of Round Two: Lab Rats


Knockout One:

  • Iron Grip vs Phoenix Force


Heat One:

  • Iron Grip’s Nate vs Phoenix Force’s Dan

After a fast start, Nate nailed the dismount from the Ring of Fire while Dan was a bit hung up. Nate created a lead that saw him all the way to the Pole Grasper by himself, but his low positioning slowed him down. Dan was able to get on the obstacle at the same time as Nate, but Nate’s lead was too much. Nate finished the Poles and completed the course.

Point= Iron Grip


Heat Two:

  • Iron Grip’s Daniel vs Phoenix Force’s Najee

Both Ninjas went for speed in this round. Najee got a little damp on the first rope swing, letting Daniel pull ahead. It all came down to the Pole Grasper. Daniel was able to maintain his edge and nabbed the win.

Point= Iron Grip


Heat Three:

  • Iron Grip’s Barclay vs Phoenix Force’s Cassie

Barclay was the first to finish the Ring of Fire but missed her first grab at the cargo net on the Swing Jump. However, she recovered and moved on. When Cassie reached the Swing Jump, she didn’t fair as well, falling there.

Although she could have stopped, Barclay kept working down the course. She redeemed herself at the Warped Wall and hit the buzzer for her team.

Points= Iron Grip

Phoenix Force is OUT.


Knockout Two:

  • Lab Rats vs Team Grit


Heat One:

  • Lab Rats’ alternate Arnold Hernandez vs Team Grit’s Lance

Due to the shoulder injury Chris experienced earlier in the episode, the Lab Rats called in their alternate, Arnold.

The Ninjas were tied in their dismount off the Ring. Lance took a big dip into the water on Swing Jump, but was still in the game. Arnold bounded across the Floating Tiles. Lance fell forward on his chest here, but again, managed to hang on. Both competitors were on the Poles at the same time.

Arnold was off the Poles first, but missed his first attempt at the Wall. He landed his second attempt while Lance’s wet shoes were his downfall.

Point= Lab Rats


Heat Two:

  • Lab Rats’ Michelle vs Team Grit’s Maggi

Michelle completed the all-important Ring of Fire first. Maggi fought to stay close behind. Michelle reached the Pole Grasper first and before Maggi could close the gap, Michelle was up the Warped Wall.

Maggi was also able to complete the course, but wouldn’t have a point to show for it.

Point= Lab Rats


Heat Three:

  • Lab Rats’ Brian vs Team Grit’s Kevin Bull

Brian had a slight lead at the start, which rapidly increase when Kevin Bull got snagged at the Swing Jump again. However, Kevin salvaged the obstacle and pushed hard to catch up to Brian. On the Pole Grasper, it was any’s guess who would come out on top.

In the end Brian raced for the win, hitting the buzzer with Kevin Bull right behind him.

Points= Lab Rats

Team Grit is OUT

Lab Rats vs Iron Grip in the important relay race.

In the relay, all three team members will be on the course at the same time. Each will complete three obstacles, meaning the course is extended. It’s up to each team to decide which member runs when.

Arnold Hernandez would represent the Lab Rats in the first leg. Barclay would take these obstacles for Iron Grip.

After the Swing Jump, Lab Rats would tag in Michelle, and Iron Grip would call upon Nate.

Facing each other for the third time this episode, Lab Rats’ Brian and Iron Grip’s Daniel would take on the extended course.

  • Dueling Salmon Ladders
  • Globe Graspers
  • 40 foot Invisible Ladder


Relay Race

Barclay and Arnold started out neck in neck. Arnold got off the Ring first, for a slight lead. He was able to tag in Michelle first, but Barclay brought in Nate right behind her.

Michelle was off the Pole Grasper and up the Warped Wall in a flash, bringing in Brian. But again, Nate was right behind with the tag for Daniel.

Daniel closed the slight lead Brian had and they were tied on the Globe Grasper. Daniel took a big swing to finish the obstacle first and raced to the Ladder. Brian was right behind him.

While Daniel did have a lead on the Ladder, both Ninjas looked downright exhausted at this point. Brian’s grip finally gave out, ending the run for the Lab Rats. Daniel wasn’t able to complete the course, but Iron Grip will fight on in the finals.

The Lab Rats are out and Iron Grip advances to the finals.

The next episode will take place on May 16 and feature four more teams hungry for the buzzer.

  • Team Alpha
  • Karsten's Fast Kats
  • Storm Team
  • Flowmingo

Rules

  • There are three Ninjas on each team.
  • Competitors from each team run the course side by side.
  • The first two heats are worth one point each. The third heat, also called the anchor run, is worth two points. If there is a tie after that, they’ll go into a sudden death heat.
  • The first matchup winner will then face the second matchup loser in a knockout round of three heats.
  • The winners of the knockout round will then face off in a relay race to move on to the championships!
  • Touching the water is allowed as long as you don’t lose your grip on the obstacle entirely.

READ MORE!
Here are the obstacles and rules for Team Ninja Warrior
Exclusive behind-the-scenes look at season two of Team Ninja Warrior
Here’s the full Team Ninja Warrior season two roster