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Utahn sets record, heads to ‘American Ninja Warrior’ national finals

SHARE Utahn sets record, heads to ‘American Ninja Warrior’ national finals

Fifty-four-year-old Jon Stewart set an “American Ninja Warrior” record during Monday’s episode. He is the oldest person to go to the national finals in Las Vegas.

It’s the third year that Stewart, a rock climber and construction manager of Washington City, Washington County, qualified for the finals, said host Matt Iseman.

“American Ninja Warrior” on NBC Monday evening featured the Oklahoma City finals. Of the 30 competitors in the five city finals, the top 15 move on to the first of four stages in Las Vegas called Mt. Midoriyama.

The city finals course includes the six obstacles from the qualifying round — the Floating Steps, the Ring Swing, the Log Runner, the Tire Swing, Bar Hop and the 14.5-foot Warped Wall — that have been altered to be more difficult. The four additional obstacles include Salmon Ladder where athletes have to jump a metal bar up four rungs; Bungee Road with bunches of bungee cords athletes have to use to make it to a hanging pipe; Window Hang with a series of small ledges; and the 30-foot Invisible Ladder.

Two athletes completed the course, including 23-year-old Daniel Gil.

“Just think about this for a second, Matt. Jon Stewart was 31 when Daniel Gil was born. Yet they are out here on the same course,” said host former NFL player Akbar Gbajabiamila.

“He’s not out here to say he’s good for his age, Akbar,” Iseman said as Stewart was running the course. “He’s out here to be good for any age.”

Stewart, who was fifth overall, was cheered on by his wife and five children, including 7-year-old Miriam.

“She’s just got so much energy, so I really think it helps me stay young,” Stewart said in a feature prior to his run.

Stewart completed the first six obstacles, and then the Salmon Ladder and Bungee Row. He fell navigating the Window Hang.

“I love it, it’s in my heart. I still feel like I’m 20,” said Stewart, who has eight grandchildren. “I just never stop doing stuff like this. I love it.”

Also from Utah is Clayton Wolf, 35, a real estate investor from Orem, whose T-shirt said “American Ninja Wolf” on the back.

He completed the first six obstacles and gave a wolf howl at the top of the Warped Wall. He missed a rung on the Salmon Ladder and fell. At the end of the night, he was No. 14 and headed to the finals.

Brian Beckstrand, 37, a Lowe’s manager and father of five, completed the qualifying course but was tripped up on the third obstacle, the Log Runner, which has five horizontal logs competitors have to traverse.

Iseman said at the end of the show that 36 competitors in the qualifying round and seven in the city finals fell on the Log Runner.

“American Ninja Warrior” will return with one more city final competition after the Olympics.

Email: rappleye@deseretnews.com Twitter: CTRappleye