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‘American Ninja Warrior’ has 2nd winner in show’s 11 seasons

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Drew Drechsel stands on top of the Stage 4 obstacle asthe winner of season 11 of “American Ninja Warrior,” during the Sept. 16, 2019, finale.

David Becker, NBC

The 11th season of “American Ninja Warrior” has a winner. Drew Drechsel, 30, a Connecticut gym owner, is the second winner of “American Ninja Warrior” and $1 million richer.

Drechsel, known as the Real Life Ninja, and Houston-area worship leader Daniel Gil, known as the Kingdom Ninja, both completed Stage 3 of the four-stage national finals during the Monday, Sept. 16, episode. Stage 4 includes climbing a 75-foot rope in 30 seconds or less in a tower known as Mount Midoriyama.

The last time there was a winner was season 7 when Utah native Isaac Caldiero made it to the top of Mount Midoriyama faster than Geoff Britten, the only other Stage 4 finisher until this season.

“American Ninja Warrior” competition consists of a city qualifying course with multiple obstacles that test each ninja’s abilities and a 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 allotted time. Of those, a record 21 finished Stage 2 in the allotted time.


Karson Voiles competes on Stage 3 of the “American Ninja Warrior” finale on Sept. 16, 2019.

David Becker, NBC

Utah Karson Voiles, who owns a ninja gym in West Haven, Weber County, was one of those 21 competitors.

The Stage 3 course included seven obstacles that tested upper body strength.

“The gym owner from West Haven, Utah, had some near falls and some epic saves on Pipe Dream,” host Matt Iseman said during the finale episode Monday. In Pipe Dream, competitors had to navigate through a series of different sized vertical rods, some which were stable and some shifted.

The sixth obstacle was Cane Lane, where ninjas used a candy cane shaped hook and had to traverse an uneven beam.

It was on Candy Lane where Voiles’ lost his grip and fell off the obstacle. He pumped his fist as he came out of the water.

“I had no more juice left in the tank,” he said about his run on the course. “I was getting on Cane Lane with nothing but faith.”

“American Ninja Warrior” is now casting for season 12. See anwcasting.com for information.