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Utahn part of record number of athletes headed to ‘American Ninja Warrior’ finale Monday

Ninja gym owner Karson Voiles is one of a record 21 ninjas who completed Stage 2 of the four-stage national finals to be in the finale on Monday.

Karson Voiles celebrates after hitting the buzzer on Stage 2 of the “American Ninja Warrior” finals that aired on Sept. 9, 2019.
David Becker, NBC

A Utahn is one of a record number of athletes headed to the “American Ninja Warrior” season 11 finale on Monday, taking a shot at the final stages of the competition and the $1 million prize.

Karson Voiles is one of 21 ninjas who completed Stage 2 of the four-stage national finals. Last year, there were two who made it to Stage 3. Previously, the record was eight competitors in season seven, according to www.americanninjawarriornation.com.

Karson Voiles competes on Stage 2 of “American Ninja Warrior” that aired on Sept. 9, 2019.
David Becker/NBC

Season seven was when two of those eight made it to Stage 4 and Issac Caldiero made it to the top of the Stage 4 tower — known as Mount Midoriyama — faster than the only other Stage 4 finisher, Geoff Britten.

The “American Ninja Warrior” competition consists of a city qualifying course with multiple obstacles that test each ninja’s abilities and longer city finals events in a half-dozen cities. From there, 86 competitors made it to Stage 1 of the national finals, where 28 finished in the time limit and made it to Stage 2.

New this year were the speed and safety passes. The two fastest ninjas competed on one final obstacle at the city qualifying events for the speed pass, which gave the holder a pass to the national finals, and at the city finals the winner earned a safety pass, which lets them re-run a course in either Stage 1 or Stage 2 of the national finals.

Voiles won the speed pass at the Seattle city finals and he used it on Stage 2.

The 34-year-old West Haven ninja gym owner fell on the third obstacle, a new one this year called the Snap Back, and came out of the water holding up his safety pass, which allowed him to run the course again, this time completing it and finally hitting the Stage 2 buzzer, and yelling his signature “Karsonic boom.”

“I’ve said it for years... Stage 3 plays to all of my strengths and I can’t wait to finally get my grip on it! You better believe I’m going to give it all I’ve got!” Voiles posted on Instagram.

It’s his sixth year competing in “American Ninja Warrior” and his fourth trip (and third time in a row) to make it to Stage 2.

Three other Utahns made it to Stage 1 of the “American Ninja Warrior” national finals.

Matt Dolce, known as The Flying Pharmacist, fell on the second obstacle of Stage 1 in his second season on the show. Mady Howard, a former gymnast and a nurse, made it to the third obstacle in her rookie season. Zach Scholes, a warehouse worker, made it to the last obstacle before timing out in his first season on the show.

The “American Ninja Warrior” season 11 finale airs Monday evening on NBC.