Fifteen more competitors earn their place in Las Vegas during the seventh season of American Ninja Warrior. After heading to Venice, California, for last week's episode, the show traveled east to Kansas City, Missouri, for Monday night's show.
As if journeying across a city finals course isn't difficult enough on its own, the conditions in Kansas City didn't help matters. A light sprinkling of rain caused a few obstacles to be a bit slick, which put those taking part at a disadvantage.
You can see the top 15 qualifiers below:
|Kansas City Finals—Top-15 Finishers|
|4||Isaac Caldiero||2:29.74||Body Prop|
|5||Josh Cook||2:37.03||Body Prop|
|6||Brandon Berrett||2:41.17||Body Prop|
|7||Lorin Ball||2:49.47||Body Prop|
|8||Paul Kasemir||3:11.78||Body Prop|
|9||Brandon Mears||3:12.54||Body Prop|
|10||Jake Murray||3:15.28||Body Prop|
|11||Karson Voiles||3:45.02||Body Prop|
|12||Brian Arnold||3:45.82||Body Prop|
|13||Jason Williams||3:50.90||Body Prop|
|14||Dan Yager||4:03.15||Body Prop|
|15||Dennis Lappin||4:04.90||Body Prop|
|Source: NBC broadcast|
Many eyes were on 53-year-old Jon Stewart to see if he could beat his own record as the oldest competitor to finish an American Ninja Warrior course. And no, it wasn't that Jon Stewart, as show host Matt Iseman noted:
In case you needed any evidence as to Stewart's level of dedication to winning the show, he constructed his own "Salmon Ladder" at his home that reaches nearly 30 feet:
As you'd expect, he had little trouble scaling the normal "Salmon Ladder" Monday night, but he ran into trouble on the next obstacle, the "Flying Shelf Grab." He jumped a little too high, and the momentum from all of his body weight pushed him into the water below.
Stewart never had the chance to try to tackle the toughest single obstacle on the night: the "Body Drop." On last week's episode, it was the "Hourglass Drop." That title fell to the "Body Drop" in Kansas City as competitor after competitor who tried to inch his way across to safety ran into issues.
Isaac Caldiero had the bright idea to bring a sweatshirt along with him on the course, using the sweatshirt as a towel to dry his shoes before attempting the "Body Drop":
The strategy nearly worked out, but Caldiero lost his grip just feet before completing the obstacle. Fellow American Ninja Warrior competitor Ian Dory didn't think any less of Caldiero despite his slip-up:
Just when all hope seemed lost, Brendan Couvreux arrived to save the day—or finish the course, however you want to look at it. The way in which Couvreux flopped onto the ledge after finishing the "Body Drop" illustrated just how physically taxing that part of the course was:
You wondered how much he had left in the tank for the "Invisible Ladder," but those doubts were quickly put to bed as he worked his way up 30 feet in the blink of an eye and became the first competitor in the Kansas City finals to hit the buzzer.
Dory joined Couvreux after he completed the course in even less time. He looked similarly gassed after the "Body Drop" but immediately turned around and climbed up the "Invisible Ladder" in the shortest time of the season.
The show organizers saved the best for last, as Lance Pekus was the final athlete to compete. Pekus has been a mainstay of American Ninja Warrior but had never once completed a city finals course.
That changed in Kansas City.
Pekus made it look easy, finishing the course in the fastest time during Monday night's episode. He looked close to disaster on the "Body Drop" but regained his foothold and headed for the "Invisible Ladder." As it was for Dory and Couvreux, the obstacle was only a minor inconvenience as Pekus ascended to the final buzzer.
Fellow American Ninja Warrior combatant Drew Drechsel complimented Pekus on a job well done:
Think about how difficult Kansas City's course was for the athletes involved, and think about the fact that the Vegas course will only get tougher.
Simply reaching "Sin City" is a massive accomplishment, but there's still a long way to go for Monday's 15 finalists to reach the pinnacle of American Ninja Warrior.