The qualifying rounds ended in Cincinnati in American Ninja Warrior Season 11 Monday, and the night was filled with speed, touching stories, and dancing.
That last bit might clue you in on one of the ninjas who competed. Yes, the Island Ninja entertained on the course, even though he was a bit more serious than usual. One competitor almost didn't make it back this season due to his health, while another needed some medical help after her run.
While only one person made it up the Mega Wall, he wasn't the only one to complete the Shrinking Steps, Ring Swing, Spinning Bridge, Wingnuts, and Slingshot. Several also successfully hit the buzzer at the top of the 14.5-foot Warped Wall.
Check out the highlights below from the last round of qualifiers.
Mike Bernardo Triumphed and Sparked on the Course
The 10-time competitor received the traditional back slap to kick off his run from fellow ninja Ryan Stratis, but while he hit a buzzer, there was nothing "traditional" about this run. The firefighter suffered a fall at work in September and thought he might not compete again after doctors suspected a neuromuscular disorder. He received a tentative diagnosis of fasciculation syndrome.
Jackson Twait Was as Graceful as His Cat
It was his first time running a course, and he not only made it through quite easily, he sped through it as well, resulting in the second fastest time of the night. (He competed on the Power Tower, but lost the Speed Pass to Ethan Swanson.)
Michelle Warnky Bled for Her Buzzer
She was the second woman ever to conquer the Warped Wall, and she became the third woman to hit a buzzer this season. But during her run, she got hit in the face with one of the rings on the second obstacle. She didn't slow down and made it through the rest of the course after wiping the blood away.
Ethan Swanson Bested the Course Without Fear
"The Swan" had a dangerous new training technique this year: incorporating fear to prepare for the nerves of competition by training on cranes 200 feet in the air and 30 feet up in his gym without pads or safety nets. And it seemed to work, since he sped through the course with the fastest time of the night and came out on top on the Power Tower.
Jesse Labreck Flexed Her Way Through the Course
One of the top ninjas, she was quick (with the sixth fastest time of the night) and efficient during her run. She hit a buzzer in qualifying for the third season in a row, joining Meagan Martin in that feat.
Grant McCartney Danced Away With Cash
After missing the National Finals by one spot the past two years, he was more serious on the course and, other than a shoulder shake after a stumble on the Spinning Bridge, saved the dancing for the end, after he hit the buzzer — at the top of the Mega Wall on his second attempt, earning him $5,000.
American Ninja Warrior, Mondays, 8/7c, NBC