NBC's American Ninja Warrior series went to Houston for another round of qualifying.
The third episode of this season put the competitors through an assortment of obstacles, including a tilting slider, cargo crossing and swinging spikes. It was also a notable night because Kacy Catanzaro, who was the first female to beat the warped wall in 2014, returned to the show.
While Catanzaro was the main event of the evening, there were a lot of storylines in play as the warriors fought for the right to compete for the elusive $1 million grand prize.
Here is the list of competitors who were able to finish the course and their times:
|American Ninja Warrior Houston Finishers|
The finals for American Ninja Warrior will take place in Las Vegas later this summer. The previous two qualifying rounds in Venice Beach, California and Kansas City, Missouri set things up nicely for what was on display in this third qualifying stop.
What better place to start than with the main event, which was Catanzaro's return to the show. She was the final competitor on the track, struggling to contain her emotions on the starting block:
Unfortunately, those feelings would give way to disappointment, as the 25-year-old would fail to make it past the cargo crossing on her jump. She came up short and found the water, leaving the crowd in attendance upset.
Here's how Catanzaro's quest ended, via Valerie Vine Star:
After Catanzaro's run aired, Lesley Goldberg of the Hollywood Reporter ran an interview with the American Ninja Warrior star about her early exit:
I'm doing OK. I definitely don't want to take the easy way out and say that it was only because I couldn't reach it and it's not possible; I'd never want to say that or make it seem that way. I do, in my mind and at the moment, I tried hard and just couldn't reach it. But everybody always feels that they tried hard.
The good news is Catanzaro's quest to get back to the finals isn't over, as she will be up for a wild-card spot. Given her popularity, it would be stunning if she didn't get another shot.
Catanzaro also got to see her boyfriend, Brent Steffensen, make it through the course this year after he was eliminated early in the competition last year. The American Ninja Warrior regular did have the fastest time of the day when he walked off the course, via Ninja Warrior:
However, Steffensen would end the night looking up at Daniel Gil. He posted the fastest finishing time of anyone on the course and looked at ease with everything, as this photo from the cargo crossing section shows, via Ninja Warrior:
The warped wall would come into play, as tends to be the case when Catanzaro is around, but this time on the men's side, as Jonathan Horton became the shortest male competitor to scale the 14-foot high test, via Ninja Warrior:
Horton would end up completing the course, ensuring his climb up the wall wasn't wasted. You don't need to be a giant to be a ninja, just a lot of strength, will and determination to power through a course that is going to challenge every muscle in your body.
In a cruel twist of fate for Anthony Scott, who was disqualified from last year's competition after his foot hit the water during an event, the same thing happened again Monday night, via Ninja Warrior:
Even though things didn't turn out as many hoped for Catanzaro, it was a notable night for other competitors like Gil and Steffensen. There's still a long way to go before the finals come up later this summer, but all 15 finishers have to feel strong about their chances moving forward.
There's a lot at stake in terms of pride, bragging rights and a cool $1 million waiting for the winner.