American Ninja Warrior Las Vegas National Finals got off to a rocking start last night, with a season’s worth of drama packed into two hours of teeth-clenching obstacle racing.
While a host of popular ninja veterans (including Lance Pekus, Joe Moravsky, Brent Steffensen, Thomas Stillings, Flip Rodriguez, Kevin Bull and JJ Woods) all successfully completed Stage 1 of the four-part course, it was the women that ultimately stole the show.
BARCLAY STOCKETT SPARKLES
Gymnast Barclay Stockett may stand only five-feet tall, but she soared as high or higher than any of the other ANW competitors during the first night of competition in Vegas.
Stockett, who recently mastered the ability to support her body weight with just three fingers, attacked the obstacles with such vigor that at times it appeared she would overshoot her target. Despite some close calls, the “Sparkle Ninja” managed to make it to the final obstacle before time ran out.
JESSE LABRECK FLEXES
Jesse “Flex” Labreck, cheered on by boyfriend Chris DiGangi — a fellow ninja who was eliminated earlier in the night — performed in Vegas with the same strength she’s exhibited throughout her first two seasons of ANW competition.
Like Stockett, Labreck made it all the way to the final obstacle, but tumbled off the cargo net as time was running out. She stuck around to watch her friend, and sometimes training partner, Allyssa Beird, take on the course as the last woman competitor of the night.
ALLYSSA BEIRD TEACHES
Allyssa Beird, also competing in her second year, paired precision with power in attacking the course set up near the Las Vegas strip. She had a ninja boyfriend of her own in her corner, James “The Beast” McGrath, who failed to make the finals after being a mainstay of the event in past years.
The fifth-grade teacher from Middleborough, Massachusetts delivered a crowd-pleasing performance in becoming just the second woman ever to complete Stage 1 of the ANW National Finals.