Archive for the ‘Competitors’ Category

National Finalists in American Ninja Warrior 4

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

Here is a list of the 90 national finalists in American Ninja Warrior 4 who advanced to Las Vegas to compete on the Mt. Midoriyama replica uber-course that was built there. There will be 10 wildcards added to these 90 competitors to make an even 100 runners, which is the traditional number that competed in the original Ninja Warrior Japan (Sasuke) for many years. The identity of these wildcards will be revealed when the show airs.

15 finalists from each of the 6 regions (listed below in order of finish) fought their way through their respective regional rounds and then the regional finals to advance to the first finals of American Ninja Warrior held in the US. Mad props to all these competitors, and hit LIKE to applaud them and share this list to spread the word of their awesomeness!

Southwest
Evan Dollard
Jesse La Flair
Kole Stevens
Remi Bakkar
Brent Steffenson
Chad Simpson
Derek Nakamoto
Dorian Cedars
Dan Mast
Paul Darnell
Sedderick Bassett
Ryan Thompson
Dylan Curry
Ronnie Shalvis Jr
Michael “Frosti” Zernow

Midwest
Matthew Derouen
Andrew Karsen
Jack Morgan
Stephen Volcko
Arthur Skov
Michael Silenzi
Nick ‘Lovin’ Stephforn
Johnathan Morin
Scott Robinson
Will Dodd
Joshua Grant
Andrew Lowes
Nate Aye
Nick Kostner
Cade Halada

Northeast
Tim Shieff
Luis Moco
Dan Galiczynski
Chris Wilczewski
Elet Hall
Travis Graves
Jesse Villareal
Christopher DiGangi
Andrew Wood
Danny Johnson
Bradley Smith Jr.
Phillip Pirollo
John Sapinoso
Matt Mings
Michael Pericoloso

Northwest
James McGrath
Travis Furlanic
David Campbell
Sean Noble
Kyle Cochrane
Justin Sweeney
Josh Horsley
Nathan Sausedo
Justin Walcker
J.B. Douglas
Kevan Reoli
Ben Snead
Brian Kretsch
Gunner Bahn
Patrick McGrath

Midsouth
Paul Kasemir
Brandon Douglass
Brian Arnold
Jaret Salas
Kevin Klein
Sat Khalsa
Ahmed Toure
Josh Lobeck
Lorin Ball
Jake Smith
Bob Pondrom
Nathaniel Spencer
James Wyatt
Tremayne Dortch
Alan Connealy

Southeast
David “Flip” Rodriguez
Drew Dreschel
Travis Rosen
Jared “J.J.” Woods
Michael Ekhert
Bull Bullard
Sean Morris
William Brown
Thomas Hall
Brendan Kelly
Andy Taylor
Adam Grossman
Niko Bogucki
Tony Reddick
Paul O’Connor

Southeast on Deck!

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

The last of the six regions in this year’s American Ninja Warrior, the Southeast, is finally on deck to be shown this Sunday on G4 and Monday on NBC. The Southeast region was filmed in Miami along with the Northeast region, and has a tough lineup with a number of veteran competitors who will be gunning for the top spot, and could very well be the most experienced overall region with four of the ten returning finalists from American Ninja Warrior 3 that went to compete in Japan.
Ryan Stratis – It’s safe to say that Ryan is one of the superstars of American Ninja Warrior, and has competed in and been shown in every competition. He’s improved every season and made it all the way to the third stage in Japan in ANW3, and his intensity and symbolism as a member of our armed services make him a favorite with both fans and competitors. A buddy of mine since ANW2, he’s one of the guys I root hardest for, and a true threat to win it all.
Travis Rosen – Another returning finalist from Japan in ANW3 where he fell in Stage 2, Travis is an incredibly trained and gifted athlete who was an All-American gymnast at the University of Iowa once-upon-a-time. Travis and I bonded entering ANW2, both of our first seasons, as fellow middle-aged dads who felt compelled to compete. When we first became buddies I had NO IDEA he was as sick as he is…Travis could truly be the first American Ninja Warrior and is another guy that I root hard for every year.
David “Young Flip” Rodriguez – Young Flip burst onto the scene last year not only as another finalist in ANW3 who made it all the way to Japan (where he fell in Stage 2), but also as a competitor in the awesome parkour/freerunning show Jump City: Seattle where he competed for Miami Freerunning. Young Flip is a very agile strong competitor with great conditioning and confidence in his abilities. He’s famous for his use of a mask when he competes which he says helps him focus. I don’t know him well, but he’s a good guy and a threat to go deep in this year’s competition.
Drew Drechsel – Drew is yet another returning finalist from ANW3 (making 4 of 10 in the Southeast region) where he painfully blew out his knee landing from the rope in the Half-Pipe Attack in Stage 1 in Japan. Drew is a young guy with incredible strength and coordination who should be back strong this year from his injury, and I fully expect him to be among one of the last guys standing in this competition.
Other Seasoned Vets – From earlier seasons we have two more returning vets from Japan in Brett Sims and Patric Cusic, as well as Thomas Hall (Boot Camp from ANW2) and Sean Morris (two-time semi-finalist). All of these guys are seasoned competitors, and experience shouldn’t be overlooked as a differentiating factor in a field of strong competitors.
NFL Football Player Kamerion Wimbley – Kamerion Wimbley, a professional football player who plays defensive end for the Tennessee Titans, competed in the Southeast. At 6’5″ and 255 lbs, that’s a big man on the course. Some people are dismissing his chances for being that large, but that’s only an inch taller and 35 lbs more than me, and I KNOW he’s much younger stronger faster than I am, and I just missed making the national finals, so my money is on him to shock some people. Having recently signed a $30 million contract with the Titans, the $500k prize doesn’t represent much motivation, but I hear he’s a true fan of the show so I wish him well.
Newcomer Alert – I’ve heard great things about Jared JJ Woods, Young Flip’s training partner in Miami, and am looking forward to seeing how he does.

Sorry for the many deserving athletes that didn’t get profiled here. Do something amazing and make me profile you next year!

Mid South on Deck

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

The “Mid-South” region, also previously called “South Central”, is on deck tonight on G4 and tomorrow (Monday) on NBC. There are a number of amazing athletes and veteran competitors in this tough region, quite a number of them from the dominant APEX Movement pack out of Colorado.

Jake “Love” Smith – Finalist from American Ninja Warrior 3, where he failed on the double salmon ladder in Japan, and professional free-runner who also competed in G4’s great Jump City: Seattle parkour/freerunning competition, Jake makes things look easy that are hard. A true threat to win it all. One of many APEX competitors in this region.
Paul Kasemir – Paul is a two-time American Ninja Warrior finalist, and competed in Sasuke (Ninja Warrior Japan) two times, reaching the third stage both times. Paul is ridiculously smooth and fast, and like his team-mate Jake Smith is one of the handful of competitors who are a threat to take down the $500k on top of Mt Midoriyama Las Vegas.
Jereme Sanders – Jereme is an icon in the parkour community having been a member of The Tribe, widely recognized as America’s first parkour team, and has competed in multiple seasons of American Ninja Warrior and in the single season of Jump City: Seattle. Jereme has a ton of experience attacking obstacles in his life, and a day on the course of American Ninja Warrior is just another day of play for him, so he’s a big threat to go deep out of the Mid South region.
Jaret Salas – Jaret is a first-timer to American Ninja Warrior, but I’ve been training with him for the last year and the dude is sick. Incredibly strong, agile, well-conditioned athlete that might just come out of nowhere and shock everybody. 505 in the house!
Josh Kronberg – Josh is a member of our unofficial “Middle-Aged Ninja Dads Club” of competitors. He’s a very dedicated competitor, and just barely missed advancing to the semi-finals in American Ninja Warrior 3. He’s got a great obstacle course in his backyard that he’s built and he’s trained on (including letting me play on it a few times), and he’s a very focused strong athlete with a lot of practical experience under his belt. Look for him to go far. Check out the competitor interview he gave me earlier. 505 in the house!
Risa Scott – One of the top women of American Ninja Warrior, and another amazing competitor from Team Apex, I can’t even do the Human Flag in my imagination as long as Risa can do it in real life (YouTube it if you don’t believe me). Risa is a threat to become the first woman to complete the opening stage in American Ninja Warrior.
Old Men of Austin – Interestingly enough, two of the strongest older competitors in all of American Ninja Warrior both hail out of Austin: Jason Bischoff and Craig Stiles, ages 44 and 48 respectively. They’ll be holding it down for the middle-aged guys in the Mid South!
Chris Okruhlik – Check out the interview and bio in the post below for more info on Chris! Check out his competitor interview.

As always, there are many deserving competitors that I’m neglecting here…forgive me.

American Ninja Warrior Competitor – Chris Okruhlik

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Chris Okruhlik, or more commonly known as Chris O, does a great interview for us talking about his experiences training for and competing in the world’s toughest obstacle course competition. Chris O competed in ANW2 and this season’s ANW4 in the South-Central region which airs this Sunday and Monday. He was shown in American Ninja Warrior 2 running in his trademark sleeveless tuxedo shirt, and will hopefully be shown in this season’s South-Central episodes.

Chris has a ton of heart, and is known in the competitor community for his enthusiasm and the strong support he gives his ninja brethren. I can attest to this personally…when I was battling for a spot in this season’s American Ninja Warrior I know Chris was working behind-the-scenes as a guaranteed invite to highlight that they needed to let me run!

So enjoy his story, and remember to root Chris O on every time he steps on the course!

Competitor Profile – Josh Kronberg

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

In the third installment in my series on great competitors in American Ninja Warrior, I bring you Josh Kronberg who competed in ANW2 and ANW3. He just missed making the semi-finals in ANW3, and I think is a real sleeper competitor to shock some people in ANW4. He’s been training like a madman, and has a great course in his backyard that he’s built up with trademark obstacles like the jumping bars, the salmon ladder, and the unstable bridge among others. I’ve had a chance to hang out and train with him, and he’s a humble nice guy with serious determination to be the first American Ninja Warrior. In fact, I’m going down to Albuquerque to train with him again next week…lucky me! Hope you guys enjoy his story, and encourage him in his dreams.