Thirteen was a very lucky number for Cincinnati's American Ninja Warrior finalists, as nearly half of the contestants advanced to the four-week Las Vegas finals in Monday's telecast.
And it was a historic night for the show. For the first time in 11 seasons, two women completed the course in a city finals. Only one woman had done that in the previous 10 seasons.
Jesse "Flex" Labreck, a Chicago gym owner, and Michelle Warnky, a Worthington gym owner, each hit the buzzer after completing 10 obstacles erected last May on Second Street.
They will be among 90 athletes competing for the $1-million prize in the 11th season finals starting next week on NBC.
The overall Cincinnati winner was Michael Torres, 24, who beat Chicago pal Ethan Swanson in a head-to-head match on the Power Tower obstacle. Torres received a "safety pass," to use in case he falls during the first or second round of challenges in Las Vegas.
Advancing to Las Vegas were Chris DiGangi, Sem Garay, Grant McCartney, Brandon Mears, Dan Polizzi, Dustin Rocho, Philip Scott, Tyler Smith, Trevor West, Torres, Swanson, Lebreck and Warnky. You can see a picture of each person in my photo gallery in my story, "First Look at 'American Ninja Warrior' Cincinnati Finals Airing Monday."
Monday's Cincinnati finals will be repeated by NBC on Friday Aug. 23 (8-10 p.m., Channel 5).
The Cincinnati finals were taped Saturday May 25 during Memorial Day weekend. More than 90 contestants competed in the first round taped the night before, on Friday May 24. Here's a link to my story about the taping, "My Night With Ninja Warriors."
NBC will air the national finals on four consecutive Mondays starting Aug. 26 at 8 p.m. (Channel 5). The $1-million winner will be revealed Sept. 16.