Kacy Catanzaro was the first woman to complete the obstacle course on American Ninja Warrior. Since then, she’s always been one to watch out for. Who is Kacy Catanzaro dating? At the moment, no one! But at one point, she was one half of the show’s “Royal Couple” with Brent Steffensen, who also competed for the National Finals in last night’s episode. For those who don’t know about Catanzaro’s relationship with Steffensen, we’ve got you covered with our Brent Steffensen wiki.

#1. He’s from San Antonio

American Ninja Warrior was recently in San Antonio, where competitors tackled the fearsome obstacle course and qualified for the National Finals. To Brent Steffensen, last night was especially meaningful because it was before his home crowd. Being from San Antonio, there was something he always wanted to do: Jump onto a moving barge and talk to passengers.

When he was showing NBC cameras around his hometown, he showed off some simulations of his River Walk Ninja Warrior dream. He took ANW hosts, Akbar Gbajabiamila and Matt Iseman to the historic River Walk, where he elaborated on some of the scenarios he’d like to enact.

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“I kind of jumped this railing and landed in the seat and said, ‘Hey guys, how’s it going?’” Very Ethan Hunt… He might get to check that off his wish list soon! But he also showcased the beauty and culture of San Antonio, including the local favorite fried snapper at Southerleigh restaurant. Yum!

A post shared by Brent Steffensen (@brentsteffensen) on Jul 31, 2017 at 2:59pm PDT

#2. He’s a Stuntman

When 38-year-old Steffensen is not hanging around giant obstacle courses, he’s hanging around movie sets! He’s a professional stunt man and has performed stunts in several movies. His latest work was in Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials.

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Some of his other well known credits include Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, The Internship, After Earth, Minutemen, and more. He also had a few minor roles in movies like Good Luck Charlie, and It’s Christmas.

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Besides stunts, he also worked as a fitness model and acrobat. Steffensen also founded his own company, Alpha Warrior —a fitness training center for both civilians and military personnel.

A post shared by Brent Steffensen (@brentsteffensen) on Jul 24, 2017 at 9:07am PDT

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#3. He’s a Veteran Warrior

Brent Steffensen is an eight-year veteran of American Ninja Warrior. He made it to the Las Vegas finals several times, and competed as a team with Kacy Catanzaro, who helped run Alpha Warrior with him. She trained with him for two years and they competed several times on the show. Steffensen and Catanzaro aren’t together anymore, but it doesn’t seem like their partnership is broken.

If anything, Steffensen is super proud of Catanzaro and how far she’s come. The show has revamped the rules so more females like Mighty Kacy can go as far as the men in the competition. Steffensen is not only all for it, he also encourages more women to qualify.

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“It’s incredible that women are competing on the same course as men. But very few women were actually qualifying for finals,” he said about the new system, “The wild card used to get the women there, but some of them felt they didn’t deserve to be there. With this new system, the women can qualify and really earn their spot.”

A post shared by Brent Steffensen (@brentsteffensen) on Apr 15, 2017 at 11:01am PDT

#4. He Suffered a Heartbreak

We’re not talking about his breakup with Catanzaro. It actually doesn’t look like the Warrior Royal Couple parted on a bad note. They, however, shared a cute dog named Mr. Mogley, a schnauzer/Jack Russell terrier mix, who regularly appeared in each of their Instagram accounts. He even traveled with them to competitions and work!

Sadly, Mr. Mogley passed away before Steffensen’s 2017 ANW appearance. “We lost him two months ago. He was an old guy and had some major kidney issues,” said Steffensen. Mr. Mogley’s final appearance was during Steffensen’s photoshoot for the show this year.

Catanzaro was holding Mr. Mogley and Steffensen fed him during his last moments. “He led a good life. We took him everywhere we went. He was pretty loved.” The duo still posts throwback pictures of their beloved dog on Instagram.

A post shared by Brent Steffensen (@brentsteffensen) on Jun 19, 2017 at 1:56pm PDT

Brent Steffensen (ブレント・ステッフェンセン) is a stuntman and veteran competitor in SASUKE and American Ninja Warrior.

SASUKE

Steffensen qualified for SASUKE 26 by making it through American Ninja Warrior 2. There, he surprised many when he managed to become one of five Americans to clear the First Stage, clearing with 8.21 seconds left despite getting tangled in the netting of the Giant Swing. He was also one of four Americans to clear Stage Two, impressing many when he cleared the Second Stage with 21.5 seconds left on the clock, despite coming inches away from slipping off the Metal Spin. However, his impressive run came to an end in the Third Stage. He struggled for over thirty seconds on the Roulette Cylinder, and struggled to lock on his grip on the Doorknob Grasper, briefly hanging on by just one hand at one point. He managed to battle his way to the Ultimate Cliffhanger, but ultimately lost his grip at the end of the third ledge. His onscreen graphic lists his start position as #62, but in actuality his start position was in the mid-70s.

Steffensen clearing the First Stage in SASUKE 26 with 8.2 seconds left.

Steffensen then competed in American Ninja Warrior 3 and successfully qualified for SASUKE 27. There, despite slipping on the Spin Bridge, he once again cleared the First Stage, this time with over 32 seconds left on the clock. In the Second Stage, he nearly lost his balance and fell on the Balance Tank but managed to clear it successfully. However, he again struggled on the Metal Spin, but unlike the previous competition, where he was able to regrip the chain, he lost his grip and slipped into the water.

Steffensen competed in SASUKE 32 alongside Kacy Catanzaro and Drew Drechsel, wearing 62, where once again he cleared the First Stage, being the first competitor to do so, with 11.25 seconds remaining after several timeouts from previous competitors. He was thus the first to attempt the upgraded Second Stage. He cleared every obstacle efficiently, including the re-introduced Gyakusō Conveyor that failed to slow him, then managing to quickly lift and squeeze through all three walls of the Wall Lifting, and cleared with 25.66 seconds remaining, 6 more seconds left than the fastest stage time in the previous tournament set by Morimoto Yūsuke. On the Third Stage, Steffensen managed to clear the first two obstacles with ease, however, on the modified Sidewinder R, he nearly lost his grip on the second and third pole as they now drop when a competitor transitions to them. He managed to clear the obstacle but it had sapped his energy, contributing to his fail on the first transition on the new Ultra Crazy Cliffhanger, where he got enough momentum on the jump and touched the second ledge however did not get a grip on to it. He came in second in that tournament only being beaten by fellow teammate Drew Drechsel.

American Ninja Warrior

Brent first competed in American Ninja Warrior 2, after training with top competitors like Brian Orosco and Levi Meeuwenberg. Despite hesitating on the Cross Bridge and missing a try on the Warped Wall, he cleared the qualifying course in 27th place. In the semi-finals, he moved much faster than in qualifying despite a miss on the Soritatsu Kabe, but his speed affected his performance on the Salmon Ladder, where he failed the first jump. It was shown that he attempted to hop the bar up the rungs while still swinging from the trampoline jump, causing the right side to become dislodged. Luckily, his time was fast enough to place 14th overall and get into Boot Camp, becoming one of only 6 rookies to make it to Japan.

He then competed on American Ninja Warrior 3, having a stellar season like last year. In qualifying, he moved at a much faster pace than last year, clearing the course flawlessly by placing 13th overall and moving on to the semi-finals. In the semi-finals, he was one of 13 to fail the brutal Unstable Bridge, placing 6th overall and moving on to Boot Camp for a second year. From there, it was smooth sailing to Japan.

American Ninja Warrior 4

In American Ninja Warrior 4, Steffensen competed in the Southwest region and managed to place 1st in the qualifiers. In the finals he had to take three tries to complete the Warped Wall, however he made it to made it to Las Vegas, placing 5th. He cleared the First Stage with 29 seconds left. In the Second Stage he was the only one to make it to the Wall Lifting, however there is some ambiguity on whether or not he actually completed the stage as multiple sources claim that the clock had glitched and the timer really hit zero before he hit the buzzer, while others claim he did make it and the clock did not register that he had hit the button. Many also claim he was simply granted an automatic clear due to the fact that the course had multiple malfunctions which resulted in many reruns given that night. The exact details are unknown, nevertheless he made it to the Third Stage, and became the first American to complete the Ultimate Cliffhanger. However, his victory was short lived, as he ended up falling on the Hang Climb when he was unable to find a suitable route and he fell due to fatigue. He celebrated by jumping in the water when he got past everyone else.

American Ninja Warrior 5

In American Ninja Warrior 5’s Venice Qualifying, he got hung up on the Floating Chains, but completed the obstacle. Even though he was completely drained, he completed the last third of Qualifying and advanced. In the Venice finals, however, he was quickly defeated by the Salmon Ladder when he took too long to start climbing. He was a wildcard for Vegas, and made up for his Venice fail by gaining the 5th fastest time. Unfortunately, history repeated itself as he failed the Double Salmon Ladder in Stage 2, when he completed the transition, but, unlike the Venice finals, he went too fast to continue climbing, resulting in the right side not landing properly. Everyone, including Brent was shocked.

American Ninja Warrior 6

In American Ninja Warrior 6, Brent competed in the Dallas Qualifying. There he competed alongside his girlfriend Kacy Catanzaro. He was quick to defeat the first 4 obstacles, however, he had trouble on the new obstacle the Ring Toss. He accidentally got both rings stuck on a peg and he tried to clear the obstacle, but eventually fell in the water. Then to the shock of everyone, he didn’t make it into the Top 30, just getting 31st place and getting beat by Dillon Gates, a person that he trains with and is also friends. Although Micheal Morre failed the warped wall making it further than Brent with him also not moving on, meaning he actually placed 32nd. It is still unknown why this error was made. He was later seen in the Dallas Finals cheering on Kacy during her run.

American Ninja Warrior 7

Brent Steffensen- Stage 1 Run – American Ninja Warrior

In American Ninja Warrior 7, Brent competed in the Houston Qualifiers with Kacy again. This time he finished the course and placed the 2nd fastest time moving into the city finals. He got his revenge on the Salmon Ladder, which took him out in Season 5, but was one of the many to fall on the Walking Bar. Despite that however, he placed 8th and was able to advance to Vegas without being a wildcard this time. In Vegas, Brent was the final runner to go and despite almost slipping on Sonic Curve, he recovered and finished Stage 1 with a record breaking 51 seconds (which would be broken two tournaments later). However he had trouble with Stage 2 being slow and spending a lot of energy on the Rope Jungle, using 40 seconds to complete it and rest before the Double Salmon Ladder causing him failing the transition to the first Unstable Bridge and thus failing Stage 2.

In American Ninja Warrior 8, Brent competed in the Oklahoma Region once again with Kacy (whom he was revealed to no longer be dating). He was doing good in the Qualifiers completing the first 4 obstacles, but shocked everyone when he failed the Bar Hop. This is the second time in which he failed on a Qualifying course. But he still made it into the top 30, getting 22nd place. Steffensen later completed the Bar Hop in the finals, as he remembered to use the reverse grip to secure himself on the bar. While he was able to complete the Bar Hop, his grip strength ran out on Bungee Road. However, Steffensen once again advanced to Vegas, placing 10th. In Vegas, he once again failed to hit a button as he shockingly was one of many competitors who failed the new Giant Log Grip. This is the first time that he had failed on Stage 1 in either Vegas or SASUKE.

In American Ninja Warrior 9, Steffensen competed in the San Antonio Qualifying which is also his hometown, though he struggled with the Pipe Fitter, he completed the course as the 11th fastest finisher with the home crowd behind him. In the City Finals, he had less difficulty with the Pipe Fitter and cleared the new obstacle, the Spinball Wizard with ease and made it all the way to the Elevator Climb until his grip gave out but was still able to advance to the Vegas Finals having finished in 4th place. In the Vegas Finals, Steffensen’s Stage 1 run was digested, but cleared with ease and with 33.66 seconds left. On Stage Two, Steffensen struggled on the Giant Ring Swing and ended up falling from the Wave Runner due to fatigue.

In American Ninja Warrior 10, Steffensen competed in the Dallas Qualifying again. Despite passing through the first three obstacles with ease, Steffensen failed on the new Tuning Forks when he lost his balance on the second fork. However, since Steffensen reach that obstacle in a fast enough time, he was still able to qualify for the city finals in 28th place. In the city finals, his run was digested but it was shown that he almost fell on the Broken Bridge, but managed to recover and made it all to the Nail Clipper where he fell there but placed 13th overall and moved on to Vegas. In Stage One, Steffensen cleared the first seven obstacles with ease, but struggled on Twist & Fly, and ran out of time on the Rope Ladder. He was 2 seconds away from clearing stage 1.

On American Ninja Warrior 11, Steffensen returned to compete in Oklahoma City. Though his run was digested, he breezed through the qualifier without a sweat, hitting the buzzer and placing 6th. He went straight for the standard Warped Wall. In the city finals, his run was digested again and he reached the Crazy Clocks, before falling. Unfortunately, his time was not fast enough to put him in the Top 12, thus failing to qualify for Vegas for the first time since Season 6. He just narrowly missed the cut and placed 14th at the end of the round.

Team Ninja Competitions

Team Ninja Warrior

Brent Steffensen founded Team Alpha during season 1 of Team Ninja Warrior. The original lineup consisted of Kacy Catanzaro and Evan Dollard. Brent didn’t do as good as he thought he would, as in round 1, Brent lost to Ryan Stratis. Then in round two, with his team up at 2-0, he had a slight slip on the warped wall and lost to Kevin Bull. During sudden death, he had a clumsy slip on the Dancing Stones as he tried to rush to catchup with Kevin Bull.

Team Ninja Warrior 2

Team Alpha regrouped for Team Ninja Warrior 2, seeking redemption for their disappointing performance from the previous year. His now ex-girlfriend Kacy rejoined his team, while Evan was replaced with Dillon Gates, the same person that knocked him out of the top 30 in the Dallas qualifiers on American Ninja Warrior 6. Despite great runs from Dillon and Kacy, history repeated itself, as Brent once again let his team down by losing three races. In his first run, he lost to Karsten Williams despite him being fast on the Fly Wheels. In his second race, he had a chance of sending his team to the relay showdown but lost to Joe Moravsky. Finally, in sudden death, he elected himself to run again and then lost after falling on the Ring Of Fire.

American Ninja Warrior: Ninja vs. Ninja

For his third year of team ninja competition, which saw Team Ninja Warrior get revamped into American Ninja Warrior: Ninja vs. Ninja, Brent brought back Team Alpha with a new lineup. Sydney Olson replaced Kacy following her retirement from the franchise, while David Yarter replaced Dillon. Brent ended up losing his seventh race overall in team competitions when he fell on the Floating Tiles and lost against Lorin Ball, Sydney Olsen lost the second race against Meiling Huang and Even though David Yarter won the third race against Paul Kasemir, the team lost the relay race that followed and they got eliminated early once again.

Overall Brent’s final individual race record within the three seasons of team competition was 0-7.

Trivia

  • Brent appeared in the Denver qualifiers on American Ninja Warrior 9 and ran the course under the disguise of Arthur Hickenlooper, an 81-year old retired postal worker. The official video of his run as Hickenlooper currently has had more than 10 million views on YouTube.
    • His altered identity as Arthur Hickenlooper is named after John Hickenlooper, the governor of Colorado (at the time of the taping, which was in 2017) and 2020 presidential candidate. The real Hickenlooper actually attended the taping of American Ninja Warrior in Denver.
    • Arthur Hickenlooper’s wife, Ruth, was portrayed by Matt Iseman’s mother, Joan Iseman.
  • Brent is only one of few in SASUKE to compete at least three times without ever failing the first stage.
  • Back in American Ninja Warrior 4, when he was the only Stage 2 finisher, Brent had actually did not finish in the alloted time, but since nobody else was able to clear, they let him slide
  • Every-time Brent failed to make it to the next round in Vegas, he’s always failed 1 spot away. Even though, you can say Micheal Moore included in the Dallas Qualifiers would have made him 32nd, but because he was injured he would run again in Las Vegas as a wildcard. So, overall it’s confusing to say Brent was in 31st place, but because the leader-board said it that can be proof.
  • He has the second best rookie perfomance in the history of American Ninja Warrior. In American Ninja Warrior 2.

SASUKE Results

SASUKE # Result Notes
26 74 Failed Ultimate Cliffhanger (Third Stage) Digest. Third Ledge.
27 79 Failed Metal Spin (Second Stage)
32 62 Failed Ultra Crazy Cliffhanger (Third Stage) First Transition

Brent Steffensen Every. Single. Buzzer.-2

ANW Results

ANW # Result Notes
ANW4 71 Failed Hang Climbing (Third Stage) First American to beat the Ultimate Cliffhanger.
ANW5 85 Failed Double Salmon Ladder (Second Stage) Transition to seventh rung.
ANW7 100 Failed Unstable Bridge (Second Stage) Transition to the first bridge.
ANW8 Failed Giant Log Grip (First Stage)
ANW9 Failed Wave Runner (Second Stage)
ANW10 Failed Twist & Fly (First Stage) Time out. Digest.

‘American Ninja Warrior’ May Crown Its First Female Winner Kacy Catanzaro

Rather than the black camouflage in which they are commonly depicted, legend has it that the first “proto”-ninja disguised himself as a woman to assassinate a rival. It is fitting then, that New Jersey native Kacy Catanzaro may become the American Ninja.

Catanzaro is the first woman to reach the finals in the Esquire Network’s American Ninja Warrior. Adapted from the Japanese bi-annual competition Sasuke, the sport’s competitors run through an obstacle course that tests a variety of physical abilities.

She is as confident over the phone as she is climbing across one of Ninja Warriors many daunting obstacles. As well she should be, her physical strength and athletic control recall the godlike prowess of the great Makoto Nagao, Kazuhiko Akiyama, and Yuuji Urushihara, the only champions in Sasuke’s seventeen year history. “That’s what makes Ninja Warrior different from traditional ball sports,” she says in an exuberant voice from a vacation in one of North America’s oldest resort towns, beautiful Cape May, New Jersey.

This year, Esquire held regional Ninja Warrior challenges across the nation. Obstacles varied by location, but some constants include Ninja Warrior staples: the Spider Climb, a forty foot scramble between two walls with no grips or ledges, the Salmon Ladder, in which a loose bar is used to climb from level to level, and the Warped Wall, a ledge hanging over a 4.2 meter quarter pipe.

The first Japanese competition was held in 1997. In that time, only one woman has ever completed a stage, Chie Tanabe. Two other women advanced to the Las Vegas finals with Catanzaro, Michelle Warnky and Meagan Martin, but they have already been eliminated. The American version has been on the air since 2010, first on the G4 Network (which also licensed rebroadcasts of the Japanese version) and now Esquire and NBC. While the tournament has been filmed—contestants are under strict orders not to discuss the results—Catanzaro’s run is scheduled for Labor Day.

Catanzaro grew up in Belleville, NJ, where a love of gymnastics translated into a full athletic scholarship for the sport at Towson University. When she graduated in 2013, she moved to San Antonio, Texas. She is back in New Jersey visiting family with her boyfriend and trainer, Brent Steffensen.

“I watched the Japanese version with my dad growing up,” Catanzaro says. “I always felt like I could do it, but it seemed like it was always out of reach.” The American version of Sasuke premiered in 2009 when Kacy was enrolled at Towson University and unable to compete. Looking for a new challenge after graduating from university, she got in touch with Brent Steffensen and the Ninja Warrior community.

Steffensen came up with the workout Catanzaro used to train for the competition and they go through it together multiple times per day. It paid huge dividends when Catanzaro finished the Denver qualifier in 8 minutes 59 seconds and 53 hundredths of a second.

Her run through the course was watched on YouTube over 8 million times.

“I mostly do body training workouts,” she says. “A lot of pushups, squats, lunges, z-ups. Guys with a lot of muscle sometimes find it hard to hold up all that weight. It’s important for obstacles to be light and lean.”

The range of skills tested in the Ninja Warrior obstacle course are diverse enough that the competition is gender inclusive. Executive Producer Kent Weed recently told Entertainment Weekly that there had originally been talks of a woman only competition, but they decided to instead design more gender neutral obstacles.

In Japan, women compete in Sasuke, but there is also a woman’s only competition, Kunoichi. Rather than the upper body strength challenges that dominate Sasuke, especially in later stages, Kunoichi tests competitors’ balance and strategy.

At an even five feet tall, Catanzaro is the shortest competitor in this season of Ninja Warrior, but average for a gymnast. She excelled in her college career. Former coach Vicki Chliszczyk recently told WBAL TV, “When she was on the floor she just lit up the arena.”

“Gymnastics helped me prepare. Especially mentally,” Catanzaro says. “Competing against other people, and with everyone watching you. It can be hard to concentrate.”

She says learning how to compete in gymnastics helped her remain calm, so she could gain control of her body as it operated at levels of peak efficiency.

“You only get one shot. Whether you go down immediately, or on a later obstacle. You only get one shot,” Catanzaro says. “Even if no one was around it would be tons of pressure. You want to prove it to yourself that you can do it. And then on top of that, the audience is watching you. Millions of people on TV are going to watch later on. It’s all this pressure rolled into one moment. Knowing how to compete helped me gain control. I could stay calm enough to let my body do what it’s supposed to do.”

On the day of the competition, Catanzaro goes through the workout one more time. “To wake up the muscles” she says. “Nothing crazy. You don’t want to be sore and you don’t want to be stiff. The competition isn’t until night so we practice in the morning and then relax during the day.”

Catanzaro recently drew compliments from Olympic gold medalist Nastia Liukin who said, “I think a lot of people underestimate the amount of strength it needs to be a gymnast especially as a girl. The amount of strength, flexibility, stamina, everything it takes to be a gymnast is insane. She’s incredible. She’s amazing.”

Because women’s sports have struggled for coverage in traditionally male-dominated media markets, it’s all that much more satisfying to see Catanzaro outcompete male competitors in a mixed gender competition. Writing for Bitch Magazine, Mali D. Collins said, “As a consistent consumer of all things basketball and a self-identified sports lover, I can confidently say that the Don Imus scandal is still the most extensive coverage women’s basketball has had in years.”

The recent success of all-star Little League pitcher Mo’ne Davis shoveled more dirt on the myth of gender exclusivity in sports competitions. But critics of their accomplishments also highlight how women in male-dominated sports have to work twice as hard and face challenges that don’t affect their male competition. Evelyn Shoop’s recent examination of the issue for The Daily Beast cited a study by the Center for Feminist Research at the University of Southern California which showed ESPN’s coverage of women’s sports declined by almost half from 1999 to 2010.

“There are people who say it’s not a sport,” Catanzaro says. “They think it’s just a TV show. But it involves traditional sport training.”

If Catanzaro finishes on September 1, she’ll go on to the second and third stages. Stage Two is timed and must be completed in two minutes and five seconds, and includes challenges like the Double Salmon Ladder and the Butterfly Wall. Stage Three is again untimed, but tests athletes with obstacles like the Hang Climb and the Doorknob Grasper. In the past five seasons, no one has finished the third stage.

“It’s the new sport,” Catanzaro says. “It’s up and coming, extremely challenging. It’s super fun to be in a non-traditional sport. We break boundaries. I had no idea how many people would be so excited. People come up to me and share their stories. It touches my heart.”

Casey Suchocki is an engineering student from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, who’s motivation to compete on ANW came from his grandfather. He is also known for his nickname, The Bama Ninja.

American Ninja Warrior 8

Casey first competed as a walk-on in American Ninja Warrior 8 where he finished the Atlanta qualifying course placing 12th. In the city finals, Casey put up a strong performance, making it all the way to the ninth obstacle, The Clacker before failing. He placed 5th overall and advanced to his first national finals as a rookie.

On Stage 1, he failed the Jumping Spider when he didn’t get a good landing during dismount, fell backwards into the water, and severely sprained his ankle.

American Ninja Warrior 9

Casey returned to compete in Daytona in American Ninja Warrior 9, and even though he fell on the Wingnuts in qualifying, he proposed to his girlfriend Ashley, who accepted.

American Ninja Warrior 10

Now married to his girlfriend Ashley, he returned to compete in Miami in American Ninja Warrior 10, and although his qualifying was completely cut from the broadcast, he was one of many who failed the Slippery Summit, but he was still fast enough to make the top 30, placing 18th.

His city finals run was placed in the corner during one of the commercial breaks. He was shown to be one of many who failed the Crazy Clocks, but his time was fast enough to make it to the national finals for the second time in his career as he placed 7th overall.

In Stage 1, Casey defeated his nemesis, the Jumping Spider, and cleared with 4.49 seconds left. His run on Stage 2 was digested but it was shown that he failed Deja Vu. Just like the Wingnuts last season, his season ended on yet another obstacle designed by Kevin Carbone.

American Ninja Warrior 11

He returned to compete in Atlanta in American Ninja Warrior 11. His qualifying ran was completely cut from the broadcast, but it was shown in full on the facebook page of ANWNation. He managed to clear the course in 11th place, even after he injured his knee on the Bouncing Spider.

His run was digested in the city finals, but he failed Up for Grabs. His pace placed him 13th overall, but because Drew Drechsel (whom received the Speed Pass already in Atlanta qualifying) also landed in the top 12, he was able to advance to the national finals again, barely making the leaderboard.

In Vegas, he got hung up on Spin Your Wheels, and had to hurry but he did hit the buzzer for the second year in a row. Suchoki started off Stage 2 beating Snapback which replaced Deja Vu. Suchoki was successful in finishing Stage 2 and got to the Ultimate Cliffhanger before splashing down in the water.

Casey Suchocki at the Atlanta City Qualifiers – American Ninja Warrior 11

Casey running at the Atlanta Qualifiers

  • It is worth noting in American Ninja Warrior 10 that Suchocki fell on both obstacles that won the Obstacle Design Challenge that season. Only two obstacles were selected for the season, with them being the Slippery Summit and Deja Vu. He fell on the Slippery Summit (which was submitted by Kieran Gulkin) in Miami qualifying, and he fell on Deja Vu (which was submitted by Kevin Carbone) on Stage 2 of the national finals.

Kacy Catanzaro

Kacy Catanzaro is a mighty as they come.

The 5-foot tall dynamo is living proof that even in WWE, size doesn’t always matter. A marvel under the spotlight, Catanzaro wowed the world in 2014, when she became the first woman to scale the perilous Warped Wall obstacle on NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior.” Prior to obstacle-course racing, the mind-blowing athlete was also an NCAA Division I gymnast and was named the Southeast Regional Gymnast of the Year in 2012. She is also a two-time designee in Sports Illustrated’s Fitted 50 list, which celebrates the world’s fittest athletes.

All those milestones are now batteries in the mighty engine’s back, as she continues to reach greater heights under the NXT umbrella. After reporting to the WWE Performance Center in 2018, Catanzaro has amplified her world-class athleticism and lightning-quick agility, leaving the WWE Universe with a gasp after her incredible performances in the 2018 Mae Young Classic and the 2019 Women’s Royal Rumble Match. For Catanzaro, the greater the challenge, the greater the glory.

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He competes in a suit? Meet local athletes who made it to ‘Ninja Warrior’ KC finals | The Kansas City Star

Donovan Metoyer of Kansas City is known as the “Classy Ninja” for a reason. Fernando Leon NBC

Kansas City ninjas will add a little science and a lot of style to “American Ninja Warrior” on Monday, Aug. 21, when they compete in the show’s Kansas City Finals episode.

Four local athletes — Mitchell VeDepo of Mission, Donovan Metoyer and Alex Carson of Kansas City and Annie Dudek of Independence — are among the select few vying to move on to the Las Vegas finale later this month.

They started among more than 100 athletes who converged on Union Station in April to try to make their way through a challenging obstacle course. Thirty or so got to move on to the KC finals airing Monday.

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The four local finalists won’t necessarily get air time. But we got to know all of them a bit:

“The Classy Ninja”

Metoyer, 30, a longtime “Ninja Warrior” fan and competitor, earned his nickname for the snazzy duds he wears when he competes.

About 15 years ago, Metoyer, a big fan of Japanese culture, began watching the Japanese TV show “Sasuke,” which “Ninja Warrior” is based on. “I remember seeing these guys running through a giant playground. It looked so fun,” Metoyer says. At 18, he even applied for the chance to compete in Japan, not realizing he had to be 21.

With dampened hopes, he says he “forgot about ‘Ninja’ ” for a few years, until “American Ninja Warrior” became a cultural phenomenon in the States, complete with that all-American bravado:

“I don’t mean it in a bad way,” Metoyer says. “But all the guys were taking their shirts off and just being kind of arrogant. I remember thinking, ‘They remind me of meatheads,’ ” he says. “I want to bring some class and dignity to the show. So I’m like, ‘All right, I’m going to be the Classy Ninja.’ ”

So Metoyer went the exact opposite route of the athletes he had seen, choosing to compete on “Ninja Warrior” fully clothed, in a suit.

“It allowed me to stand out and be unique,” Metoyer says. “And I just want to show that you can run the course in anything.”

Metoyer says the suit, made of stretchy fabric, also serves another purpose:

“It gives me the ability to restrict my movements to where I’m proficient while not overexerting myself,” he says. The suit doesn’t allow for bad form.

Over time Metoyer, who helps oversee the slot machines at a local casino, made tweaks to his wardrobe. Unless he’s competing in a cold climate, he swaps out his blazer for a vest and tie. He originally completed his ensemble with a pair of Nike dress shoes but quickly found out (after splashing out in his first competition back in 2013) that tennis shoes were a more practical option: “I guess I’m the Classy Ninja from the ankles up,” he jokes.

The changes seem to be working. Each year Metoyer has improved his “Ninja Warrior” results. This is the first time he has ever advanced to the city finals stage: “Doing ‘Ninja Warrior,’ I’ve learned how to step back and realize your life is your life. You move at your own pace, and you don’t have to do what you think people are expecting you to. You need to do what you want to do, the way you want to do it.”

“The Science Ninja”

VeDepo, 26, is a bioengineering doctoral student at the University of Kansas. In his third year of “Ninja Warrior” competition, VeDepo will be aiming for his second straight trip to Vegas.

His secret? It’s all in the science, he says.

“I’m a really analytical person,” VeDepo says. “I like to break obstacles down to a science. In general I like to break things down and understand why they work and how it’s best to approach these things.”

He considers variables like force, inertia and momentum. He plots which foot to start on to maximize momentum when he tries to mount the Warped Wall. He remembers the importance of evenly coiling his legs to maintain balance on the Floating Steps. It’s a cerebral approach VeDepo hopes audiences will enjoy about him, among other things.

In addition to his studies at KU, VeDepo is also undertaking research at Children’s Mercy, working on tissue engineering heart valves for kids in need. “It’s difficult kind of beating your own chest, but I try to be a good person,” he says. “I’m pursuing a career I think can save lives and do a lot of good in this world. I hope people can focus on that and want to see me do well.”

Dudek and Carson

The Star profiled Annie Dudek and Alex Carson in April. Here’s a recap:

▪ Annie Dudek, 37, an elementary school PE teacher, is returning to “Ninja Warrior” for her third straight year. But this time she was recovering from a torn ACL. “It was my first time getting hurt and experiencing anything like that,” Dudek said. “I’d never had stitches or even sprained anything, so it was pretty intense.”

Just seven months after her injury, Dudek was back in the gym preparing. “I’ve had a few moms reach out to me from social media to tell me I’ve inspired them,” Dudek said. “That inspires me.”

Dudek said she was also inspired by her students and by showing her sons the importance of bouncing back after a setback: “I’m stronger now than I was in college,” she said. “It’s like I tell all of my kids: ‘You never know if you don’t try.’ ”

▪ Alex Carson, 30, has competed twice before but this time was not officially chosen for the KC rounds. He competed as a walk-on, which inspired him to train even harder. “My goal is to make it through the city qualifiers,” he said before the first competition. “If I can make it through the qualifiers, that will drive me to the next level. If I narrow it down to 30, I know I can narrow it down to 15.”

Carson’s voice, soft but assured, carries a quiet confidence. “This isn’t about you against other people, it’s about you against the course,” he said. “You pull from how much self-worth you have and how much you believe. It’s a mindset I take through the obstacle course and life in general.”

One competitor The Star profiled didn’t make it past the first round but proved among the most popular: Richard Talavera, a 70-year-old who can do a handstand on a skateboard. But he did carve out his own piece of “Ninja” history by becoming the oldest competitor to complete one of the obstacles.

Kansas City is one of six regional hosts for Season 9 of “Ninja Warrior,” alongside Los Angeles, Cleveland, San Antonio, Denver and Daytona Beach, Fla. The top 15 competitors in each city, plus the top two women, will move on to Mount Midoriyama, the “Ninja Warrior” finals course in Las Vegas.

Aaron Randle: 816-234-4060, @aaronronel

Where to watch

“American Ninja Warrior” Kansas City Finals will air at 8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 21, on NBC. The first Vegas Finals episode will air at 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 4.

Ninja Classes
Our ninja/training obstacles are great for challenging yourself, but are even more fun when experienced with a group. All of our classes are a blend of instruction, practice, and competition. You’ll have the opportunity to hone your skills on ninja warrior obstacles and challenge yourself with some obstacle competition/challenges. Each class is targeted at an age and skill range based on our ninja bands program.

  • Level 1 – Geared toward our youngest and newer ninjas. Participants are usually 6-9 and have their white or yellow band.
  • Level 2 – Growing ninjas will find challenge in the Level 2 class. Participants are usually 8-11 and have their orange or green band.
  • Level 3 – Our highest youth level class will challenge most anyone. Participants are typically 10-15 and have their blue or purple band.
  • ​Adult – Advanced teens and adults can challenge themselves with ninja warrior veterans and hopefuls. Participants should be able to do at least 10 pull-ups, be capable on balance obstacles and have their red or black band.

​All classes are limited to 14 participants. EFT/annual members may reserve a spot in a class on a monthly basis for an additional charge. All non-reserved spots are available on a first paid basis (in person or over the phone).

Kacy catanzaro and brent steffensen still together

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