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American Ninja Warrior 2019: National Finals Day 1 Results, Highlights

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 27, 2019

FILE - In this Sept. 21, 2018, file photo, the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino reflects the last sunlight of the day along the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada. The hotel was the scene of the the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. President Donald Trump is
John Locher/Associated Press

We are one step closer to crowning the next American Ninja Warrior champion after Stage 1 of the national finals.

Monday represented the first day of action in Las Vegas, separating the real contenders out of the 86 finalists who made it through the city competitions. With $1 million on the line for the winner, there was clearly plenty of drama throughout the show.

In Stage 1, competitors needed to advance through all eight obstacles in less than two minutes and 30 seconds in order to reach the second stage of the finals. This knocked out many top athletes, although several were able to showcase their ability when it counted.

Adam Rayl was one of the most impressive performers Monday, showcasing a lot of flair on the way to finishing the course in less than two minutes:

Ninja Warrior @ninjawarrior

You can’t deny @RealAdamRayl dominates this course in every way possible. https://t.co/72CniNbzoY

Announcer Akbar Gbajabiamila called him a real contender to win the $1 million on the broadcast, and it's difficult to disagree after that run.

However, Daniel Gil was the one who came through with the best time of the night:

Ninja Warrior @ninjawarrior

And the fastest time of the night goes to… @KingdomNinja_! https://t.co/AJVUCo7FBl

Ryan Stratis, who has competed in every season of ANW, finished the course just under the wire with nine seconds remaining on the clock. It certainly wasn't an easy run:

Ninja Warrior @ninjawarrior

Only a skilled ninja like @Straticus could pull off a move like that. https://t.co/G9rs4M8FHl

David Campbell and Brian Kretsch also entered the day with experience in every year of this competition but couldn't get to the buzzer this time around.

Nate Burkhalter was the first person to finish the course, but he was joined by Karson Voiles, R.J. Roman, Lucas Reale, Chris DiGangi and several others who will be back in action in Stage 2.

Flip Rodriguez also made history as the first person to use the safety pass, which gave him a second chance after falling on the Diving Boards. He made it count by getting through the course despite an apparent leg injury.

Former Olympic gymnast Danell Leyva failed to finish but came extremely close after an impressive run, which featured one of the best saves ever seen in this competition:

Ninja Warrior @ninjawarrior

.@DanellJLeyva just proved to the world what it takes to become a memorable ninja. https://t.co/APVcsjIWa0

Ninja Warrior @ninjawarrior

This might be the greatest save in ninja history. @DanellJLeyva did THAT! 👏 https://t.co/Q4aHkrR2Yh

This was his first year competing in Ninja Warrior, but Leyva clearly has what it takes to be a top contender next season with more training.

The course also took out some notable competitors, including Najee Richardson, Travis Rosen, Kevin Bull, Sem Garay and Conor Galvin. These were people who could've gone deep into the finals but saw their season come to an end.

Richardson's fall on the Tire Run was arguably the most surprising after reaching Stage 2 in each of the last three years:

Ninja Warrior Nation @anwnation

.@NajeeRichardson was one of my biggest shocks of the night. I had no clue that fall was coming. He looked like he had this course! #AmericanNinjaWarrior

Rodriguez also would have been a surprising exit if not for his safety pass.

Barclay Stockett and Jesse "Flex" Labreck each came through with impressive showings as two of the top women in the field, but both came up short of the buzzer.

Ninja Warrior @ninjawarrior

This emotional run by @barclaystockett was powered by family love. ♥️ https://t.co/Bfma8tjB6L

Stage 1 will continue next week in Las Vegas with the other 43 competitors trying to get through the difficult course.