CSU’s Ninja Warrior completes standout rookie season

Sergio Santistevan

After four long months, Colorado State University’s own Seth Rogers walked off the American Ninja Warrior stage firmly inked in the record books.

Colorado State University’s Seth Rogers in Season 11 of American Ninja Warrior. (Michael Becker/NBC)

In the show’s 11-year run, no rookie has gone as far into the show as Rogers, and the humble computer science major still can’t believe it.


“Having the best rookie experience in American Ninja Warrior history is a bit surreal,” he said. “I am confident that I won’t have that record for long, as the next generation of Ninjas are coming up stronger than ever.”

In previous seasons of Ninja Warrior, only a few competitors advanced past Stage Two of the National Finals. This season was unlike any other, as Rogers and 20 other Ninjas did the unthinkable and completed the course and punched their ticket to Stage Three.

“When I saw that a large number of competitors made it past Stage Two, I was pretty excited knowing that it would make for a really entertaining Stage Three,” Rogers said. “This many people making it to Stage Three made it super exciting to watch live.”

After making it to Stage Three, Rogers watched as each competitor’s Ninja Warrior season came to an end. Fortunately for the rookie known as “Big Red,” he was able to reach a place no rookie has ever been – the Cane Lane.

The Cane Lane is one of the final obstacles in Stage Three and requires competitors to move a cane across two tracks with a gap in between. Track One is S-shaped while Track Two is pointed to the left with a downward angle. 


Rogers says a lot of physical fatigue affected him in Stage Three. Besides his upper body having minimal rest throughout the stage, nerves caused him to over-grip a few sections, which led to wasted energy he could have used later on.

“Cane Lane was an obstacle that I had never touched beforehand,” Roger said. “I knew that I had the strength to do it, but my technique was not there, and it caused me to fall.”

The 19-year-old knows the audience and fans will have high expectations for next season due to his top finish this season, but his drive and determination will remain the same. 


Between now and then, Rogers will train by climbing, doing calisthenics and running. However, despite a record season and being established on the Ninja Warrior map, Rogers is no different than any other college student.

 “The real off-season training is trying to pass classes,” he said.

But when the classes end, there is no doubt that Rogers will take another shot at becoming a Ninja Warrior champion.

“You can expect an ex-rookie with a drive to get to the top of that mountain!” Rogers said.

Sergio Santistevan can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @TheRealsSergio.