Posts Tagged ‘Brian Orosco’

Top Stories from Venice Beach Opening Round

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

We saw some great stories and shocking moments in the Venice Beach city preliminary round competition.  Though this is certainly not a comprehensive treatment, for me these were the top stories of the opening round in Venice.

Top Veterans Deliver Top Performances, Advance – Although they got different degrees of TV coverage, a handful of the top long-time American Ninja Warrior veterans put in dominating performances.  Shane Daniels (2nd), David Campbell (3rd), James McGrath (5th), Brian Kretsch (7th), and Brent Steffensen (11th) showed that although there are many new amazing competitors on the scene, the traditional pantheon of top dogs are not ready to be displaced.

Derek Nakamoto Falls Early – Derek Nakamoto had a truly amazing rookie season performance in American Ninja Warrior 4 when he not only lit up the Southwest Regional Finals with the 7th fastest time in a stacked field, but blew everyone away with the fastest time in Stage 1 of the National Finals in Las Vegas.  Expectations were high for Derek entering American Ninja Warrior 5, and despite the motivation of his own traditional Japanese drum section playing for him on the course, he slipped up on the Floating Chains and fell to the gasps of the crowd.  Even the great ones fall early in competitions, proving that any obstacle can reach up and abruptly end your season.  I think despite the early exit in American Ninja Warrior 5, we’ll see great performances from this talented and focused 22 year old in many future seasons.

Flying Nunchucks Take Down Many – In what most likely proved to be the toughest single obstacle of any preliminary course in this year’s American Ninja Warrior, the Flying Nunchucks took down a long line of new and veteran competitors, including studs like Paul Darnell, Michael “Frosti” Zernow, Kyle Cochran, and Brian Orosco among others.

David Campbell Delivers the Goods – David Campbell is a legend in the Ninja Warrior crowd for his focus and discipline as a competitor, and for being one of the few American competitors who got to compete in Sasuke (Ninja Warrior Japan) multiple times before American Ninja Warrior even existed.  In American Ninja Warrior 3 he went farther than any other competitor, and fell on the second-to-last obstacle in Stage 1 of the National Finals last season.  One thing that sets David apart is his consistency, he rarely trips up early in competition, and this year was no exception as he delivered the 3rd fastest time.

The Frame Slider Takes Out Grandpa Ninja – Kelvin Antoine, one of the show’s true stars with fans and fellow competitors, delivered one of American Ninja Warrior 4’s most inspiring performances by being the oldest competitor at age 53 to ever complete the preliminary course.  His warm personality and positive attitude make him a great spokesman of the “age is just a number” philosophy that he often quotes.  Although his American Ninja Warrior 5 run ended early with a fall on just the second obstacle, the Frame Slider, it doesn’t change his inspiring message and journey, and I’m sure we’ll see Grandpa Ninja back on the course defying his age often in the future.

Justin Walcker Overcomes Tourette’s, Dominates Course – In one of my favorite inspiring story-lines of last season and this one is Justin Walcker, who has overcome Tourette’s syndrome to be a top competitor in American Ninja Warrior.  American Ninja Warrior 4 was his rookie season where he advanced to the National Finals in Vegas.  This year in the prelims in Venice Justin proved that last season was no fluke by blasting through the course to hit the buzzer.  I predict we’ll see Justin excel for many seasons to come, and we should all be reminded by him that with focus and determination, many seemingly insurmountable challenges can be overcome.

Second Early Exit in a Row for Brian Orosco – Brian Orosco is a legitimate legend in the Ninja Warrior and parkour communities, having competed multiple times at Mt Midoriyama in Japan as well as being the star in the lone season of the short-lived (but pretty awesome) Jump City.  Last season he had a surprisingly early exit when he fell on just the fourth obstacle, the Jump Hang, in the opening regional round.  This year he made it one obstacle further to the Flying Nunchuks, a brutal obstacle where he was just one of many to fail this difficult vertical grip test, handing Brian his second early-exit in a row.

Cowboy Finishes Course, Hat Doesn’t Budge – Lance Pekus, a rancher from Salmon, Idaho, cruised through the course with his cowboy hat on without it ever falling off.  With so many amazing parkour studs, rock climbers, and stuntmen dominating American Ninja Warrior, I love seeing people of unusual backgrounds and training situations doing well on the course, it reminds the rest of us “common folks” that people of any background have a chance if they have the heart and determination to compete.

Dr. Noah Kaufman Fixes Shoulders, Destroys Courses, Gets Misquoted on Parkour – We all cringed when we saw American Ninja Warrior veteran Alan Connealy take an awkward fall out of the Frame Slider and dislocate his shoulder.  Fortunately for him Noah Kaufman, a fellow competitor waiting his turn to run, happened to be an Emergency Room doctor, and he was able to come over and deftly pop Alan’s shoulder back into place to a reward of a gasp of “ohhh, nice!” from Alan.  Noah then took his turn on the course and demonstrated a rock-climber’s strength by easily handling the Flying Nunchucks and finishing the course with ease.  In his interview Noah shared his belief that the first American Ninja Warrior would be a rock-climber, something I’ve also said for years – ridiculous grip strength and stamina will be required to make it through the late stages of Mt Midoriyama.  Apparently Noah was misquoted in the telecast when Matt Iseman said he called “parkour guys wusses” which was in fact was a joke between Noah and a parkour friend of his.  This has unfairly made Noah a flash-point in a newly created Parkour v Rock-Climbing debate, and I’ve heard directly from Noah that he has great respect for the Parkour athletes.

Jesse La Flair Floats to Top Time – I must admit, I love watching Jesse La Flair.  So smooth and effortless, so skilled.  Probably why his parkour videos on YouTube are so watched with millions of views.  He continued that theme by breezing through the course in the Venice prelims to the top time and making us all wonder what he’ll do next.

Badass Chicks on the Rise – Watchout men, there is no doubt that there are many badass women ninjas on the rise and getting stronger.  Jessie Graff made history be being the first woman to ever advance to the regional/city finals round, and Erika Schwarz and Kacy Catanzaro delivered inspiring strong performances making it all the way to the Flying Nunchuks.  I believe American Ninja Warrior 5 is the year that the women ninjas put the men on notice that they are for real, and American Ninja Warrior 6 will be witness to a true monster breakout performance by one of the many strong women ninjas in our midst.  My money says that American Ninja Warrior 6 is the season where we see a woman finish the preliminary course for the first time and smash that buzzer.

Season Finale of American Ninja Warrior 4

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Tonight we find out…is anybody going to be able to complete Stages 2, 3 and 4 in the national finals to become the first American Ninja Warrior? 24 amazing athletes step to the line at the beginning of Stage 2 to get their crack at immortality. Although many of the best obstacle course runners in the world have fallen already in the regionals, regional finals, or Stage 1 of the national finals, like Levi Meeuwenberg, Brian Orosco, and David Campbell, there are many strong seasoned competitors still alive like Brent Steffensen, David “Flip” Rodriguez, Travis Rosen, Chris Wilczewski, and newcomer Derek Nakamoto (see previous post for complete list). Tune in tonight to find out if we’ll crown the first American Ninja Warrior!

Click LIKE to applaud these competitors & show your appreciation!

Stacked Northwest on Deck

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

The absolutely stacked Northwest region is on deck for this Sunday night on G4 and Monday night on NBC. Whenever discussion is had about the strongest region in ANW4, serious consideration has to be given to the Northwest as the creme de la creme. It has arguably 5 of the top 10 competitors in it, and inarguably 5 of the top 20 competitors.

David Campbell – Everybody who competes in ANW or watches ANW and/or Ninja Warrior knows David, and recognizes him as a top 3 runner year-in-year-out. He is a fierce competitor who is extremely consistent and focused. He made it farther than any American competitor in Sasuke 27 (Sasuke is the proper term for Ninja Warrior Japan), and has competed in Sasuke three or four times.
Travis Furlanic – David’s nephew and a stud on his own, Travis was the only American Ninja Warrior competitor to make the finals and compete in Sasuke all three seasons. He is always a threat for getting the fastest time on any course he steps on.
Brian Orosco – Brian Orosco is a superstar of American Ninja Warrior, has competed in Sasuke a bazillion times (disclaimer: not actual count), and is a member of Tempest Freerunning.
James McGrath – James is the patron saint of all American Ninja Warrior walkons, having walked on in American Ninja Warrior 3 after having slept in his van, and then making it all the way to the third stage in Japan for Sasuke 27 where he absolutely destroyed the course until he failed at the infamous Ultimate Cliffhanger, getting as far as any American.
Brian Kretsch – Brian is not as well known as these other four competitors, but has competed in all four American Ninja Warriors and made the semi-finals in ANW1. He trains with David Campbell and Travis Furlanic in Northern California, and anybody who has ever trained on the course with him knows he is a threat to win the whole thing. Check out our recent video interview with him.

Let me add the caveat that I don’t always know ahead of time which competitors competed where, so there is a good possibility that I am overlooking somebody terribly deserving who should be on this list! Give me a holler if you think there is a particularly egregious absence.

Southwest on Deck

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

The season of American Ninja Warrior 4 starts tonight on G4 and continues tomorrow night on NBC showing the Southwest regional and regional final rounds.  The Southwest region is chock-full of legitimate ninja studs and is arguably the strongest of the six regions in this year’s competition.  Including top competitors Levi Meeuwenberg, Shane Daniels, Luci Romberg, and Brian Orosco from the LA-based Tempest Academy, as well as other top guns and fan favorites like Kelvin “Grandpa Ninja” Antoine, Brent Steffensen, Dorian Cedars, Michael “Frosti” Zeroniow, Ryan “Cloud” Cousins, and Evan “Rocket” Dollard….the Southwest region episodes are sure to amaze, inspire and shock!

Click LIKE if you are eagerly anticipating, watching and/or digging the Southwest region episodes this week!  I’ll post some results and commentary when everything is aired and public.

American Ninja Warrior Semifinals

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

This past week’s episodes showed the great runs of 30 tough competitors in the semi-final round of American Ninja Warrior 3. The purpose of the semi-final round was to select the top 15 competitors who would advance to Boot Camp where they would have insane competitions to pick the top 10 athletes that would form Team America and get to go compete Ninja Warrior Japan (Sasuke 28). The semifinals utilized the opening round course of six obstacles, with modifications to a couple of them to make them more difficult (e.g. removing a bar on the Jumping Bars for only 3 bars instead of 4 covering the same distance), and then adding three more difficult obstacles on at the “end” of the opening round course. Competitors will be familiar with them by now: the dreaded Salmon Ladder, the Unstable Bridge, and the Long-Ass Cargo Net Climb (*not official name).

On what was a clearly exhausting and competitive course, the following top 15 competitors advanced, with basically completion of the Salmon Ladder being the threshold point between advancing to Boot Camp and going home. Of note…only one competitor completed the entire course, badass Ryan Stratis. Ryan’s a super-nice guy and very dedicated to his ninja-ness, and has made an amazing progression to improve every competition.

Here are the final results from the semifinal round. I was pleased to have 5 ninja buddies of mine advance to the Boot Camp round…mad props to Ryan Stratis, Chris Wilczewski, David Campbell, Travis Rosen, and Travis Furlanic.

1) Ryan Stratis – Completed Course
2) Chris Wilczewski – Completed Salmon Ladder at 1:21.5
3) Paul Kasemir – Completed Salmon Ladder at 1:23.37
4) Drew Drechsel – Completed Salmon Ladder at 1:25.89
5) David Campbell – Completed Salmon Ladder at 1:31.72
6) Brent Steffensen – Completed Salmon Ladder at 1:33.78
7) Travis Rosen – Completed Salmon Ladder at 1:34.89
8 Travis Furlanic – Completed Salmon Ladder at 1:37.92
9) Dustin Rocho – Completed Salmon Ladder at 1:46.52
10) Brian Orosco – Completed Salmon Ladder at 1:58.71
11) Brandon Douglass – Completed Salmon Ladder at 2:03.59
12) David “Young Flip” Rodriguez – Completed Salmon Ladder at 2:05.74
13) James McGrath – Completed Salmon Ladder at 2:06.44
14) Michael “Frosti” Zernow – Completed Salmon Ladder at 2:17.37
15) Alan Connealy – Completed Warped Wall at 45.2