The racing competition was a Special Event Qualifier for the WNL.
From March 3rd through March 5th, Ninjas from all over the United States gathered in Ohio for another competition. This time, Movement Lab Ohio paired with the Arnold Classic to create a Ninja Competition of massive proportions. With cash prizes and qualifying spots for the 2023 World Championships on the line, the stage was set for an intense competition.
The Arnold Ninja Classic’s format consisted of a double elimination head-to-head racing tournament. Qualifier runs were done on earlier days to seed the top eight Male and Female athletes.
The top eight consisted of athletes from the Teen, Young Adult, Adult and Elite divisions and would race each other for cash prizes. The top four competitors in each respective division, however, earned qualifying spots for Worlds. The top eight competitors in each division also qualify for an athlete’s Home Regional Competition.
The head-to-head matchups provided some shocks, with first seeds Phil Folsom (M) and Jaleesa Himka (F) losing in the first round. Clarisa Morris, winner of the Wolfpack Ninja Tour, also was defeated in the first round.
Morris fought her way through the loser’s bracket to place 3rd, losing out to Julianne Faber. Faber advanced to the championship race, where she was beaten by Kenzie Hughes. Hughes and Faber both qualified in the Teen Female division, beating out multiple Elite athletes to advance to the Finals. With the Women’s Title, Hughes walked away with $4,000.
In the Men’s Tournament, the semifinals saw a matchup between Tyler Smith and Josiah Pippel. Pippel won, forcing Smith to battle his way through the losers’ bracket. However, Smith swept his redemption races, earning him a matchup with Pippel in the finals. In the championship race, history repeated itself as Pippel beat Smith in the rematch, took home $4,000 and the title of Men’s Champion.
The third day of the Arnold Classic consisted of Youth Competitions. Each athlete had two runs, with their better of the two determining their final placement on the leaderboard.
Congratulations are in order to the six Youth Champions: Emily Sheaffer (Kids Female), Miles Hatcher (Kids Male), Emalaine Archer (Mature Kids Female), Easton Kolek (Mature Kids Male), Kinley Jenkins (Preteen Female) and Andrew Saffen (Preteen Male).
All of the athletes listed above have qualified for the 2023 World Ninja League Championships, which takes place June 23-25 in the Greensboro Coliseum. You can find the full results of the 2023 Arnold Ninja Classic here.