Recap: Ninja Mania Brings the Heat in Head-To-Head Event

It was an action-packed weekend in Connecticut.

On February 17 and 18, Ninja Mania hosted a test event for a new Head-To-Head format. The objective was simple: discover whether or not racing had a home as a World Ninja League Qualifier. What we witnessed that weekend was nothing short of adrenaline, excellence, and entertainment. 

The event followed a double-elimination bracket and a modified version of the Challenge Course, where the timer would not be stopped for obstacle resets in order to allow both competitors to breeze through the course at their respective paces. With two retries per competitor and a killer course designed by Ryan Tanner, the stage was set for some amazing races.



That’s exactly what the athletes across all divisions delivered. Dominant wins came from Teen Male winner Charlie Ball and Teen Female champion Skylar Awalt, who both won all of their races and never entered the Comeback Bracket for even a second. Both athletes also put up the fastest times on the course in their respective divisions, with Awalt a whole ten seconds faster than runner-up Maeve Murphy.

Season VIII World Champion and Premier Series Champion Meghan Moore furthered her legacy as a young Ninja legend by also winning the head-to-head event without losing a single race. Other winners who never lost a race that weekend were Hannah Grella (Elite Female), Ryan Harsha (Young Adult Male), Grayson Roukous (Preteen Male), Ryley Hunt (Preteen Female), Jeremy Casella (Mature Kids Male), and Tyler Wyman (Adult Male).



The double-elimination bracket meant that in order to win the tournament, an athlete would have to win 2 of 3 Final Races to be crowned Champion. Three of these divisions went to a winner-take-all matchup. 

In the Kids Female Division, Stamford Ninja Academy teammates Emily Wilkes and AJ Merchant pushed each other to the absolute limit, going back and forth in a best-of-3 series. When it came down to the wire, it was Wilkes who overtook Merchant for the win.

The same happened in the Kids Male Division, as Brayden Powers fought through the Comeback Bracket to battle Jace Black in the Finals. With Powers seemingly the underdog, he forced a third race in the Finals against Black, setting the stage for an epic matchup.  Brayden Powers took win and won the overall tournament.

The Elite Male Division provided an underdog story to its fruition, as Comeback Bracket winner Tom Alberti returned to face Ramcis Valdez and took two consecutive wins over him, becoming the only athlete of the weekend to re-enter the Comeback Bracket and win the entire event.



The top 10 Elite athletes were split into teams of five and competed in a king-of-the-hill race competition, which allowed for athletes to strategize on who to pit against who on the course. However, it didn’t matter as much as intended. After a very back-and-forth first matchup where the Red Team won, Ramcis Valdez won 6 straight races against the opposing Blue Team and secured the win for the Red Team in the second matchup. Catch all of those races below!

The Head-To-Head Test Event delivered some incredible runs, back and forth rivalries, and moments we’re sure to remember for years to come. For full results, check the Ninja Mania website for the bracket and the World Ninja League website for the results of all runs by all competitors

If you missed the action and are looking for an opportunity to race, fear not! We look forward to bringing this format to the WNL on an even wider level.

World Ninja League

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