American Ninja Warrior 2019: Drew Drechsel Wins After Completing All 4 Stages

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorSeptember 17, 2019

Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, from left, Zuri Hall and Matt Iseman, from the cast of
Evan Agostini/Associated Press

Drew Drechsel has earned the title of "American Ninja Warrior" after successfully completing all four stages in the series' national finals.

Drechsel, who was the "Last Ninja Standing" in 2016 and 2018, became just the third person in the series' 11-season history to successfully complete all stages. Geoff Britten and Isaac Caldiero both did so in 2015.

The 30-year-old gym owner, coach and nine-time American Ninja Warrior participant won $1 million for his efforts.

Drechsel and runner-up Daniel Gil were the only two people in a 21-person field to complete the third stage of the national finals, which took place on the Las Vegas strip. Per Nikki Lee of SB Nation, the 21 ninjas marked the highest amount of third-stage participants.

That set up a showdown in the fourth and final stage, with both men needing to climb up a 75-foot rope within 30 seconds to earn the rare American Ninja Warrior honor. Lee also reported that the two took part in just the second climb-off in series history.

The eventual champion flew up the rope with a couple of seconds to spare. The 26-year-old Gil, a trainer, started well but could not complete the obstacle in the half-minute time frame.

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Gil may have not finished the final stage, but he was simply dominant throughout the season and looks like he can become the fourth American Ninja Warrior next year.

Gil took first in the Oklahoma City qualifiers and finals and finished with the third-best time after the first stage of the national finals.

He then paced the field after the second and third stages before taking second place for the competition.

Drechsel had a slightly rockier road after taking second in the Atlanta qualifiers and first in the finals. He didn't complete stage one in the national finals on his first effort, but Drechsel was able to use a "safety pass" earned thanks to winning the Atlanta regionals to do the course again. 

The second time around resulted in a successful completion and a ninth-place finish. He took eighth in the second stage.

Drechsel is now the only person to be named the "Last Ninja Standing" three times. Joe Moravsky and David Campbell have both done so twice.