Former Cumberland Runner Warnky to be on American Ninja Warrior

Michelle Warnky (Columbus, OH) competed on the hit NBC show American Ninja Warrior on Monday June 9th.  Warnky was a standout Cross Country as well as Track & Field star for University of the Cumberlands (UC) in the early 2000’s. 


Michelle not only competed, but was widely successful on the show as she made it to the St. Louis Regional Finals.  The obstacle course is known as one of the toughest in the land, as you must go through a grueling six stages throughout the course where your entire body is pushed.  Warnky ran through the obstacle in 3:08.94 for a strong 19th place finish, and the highest score by a female in the event.  She will attempt to topple the course again in the St. Louis Regional Finals.  If she completes in one of the top times, she will move on to compete in Las Vegas in the American Ninja Warrior National Finals with a chance to take home $500,000.  


Warnky is not the first UC athlete to compete in this event.  Brendan Kelly (Lexington, KY) made his 3rd appearance in American Ninja Warrior this season, but came up short as he fell going for the cargo net in the middle of the course. 


During Michelle’s time at UC she garnered numerous awards.  Warnky was a Mid-South Conference (MSC) All-Conference selection in 2002, 2003, and 2005 for Cross Country.  She was also a member of the Cross Country team that won four straight MSC titles from 2002-2005.  She was a member of the 2006 Track and Field team that won the MSC Championship, as well as an All-American in the 4 X 800 indoor relay.  Michelle also excelled tremendously in the classroom as she was a two time Academic All-Conference selection in 2004 and 2005, as well as being named a 2006 Track & Field Academic All-Conference selection. 


Religion professor Bob Dunston had kind words to say on Michelle as he commented, “I am sure you are aware of Michelle Warnky’s fantastic performance on American Ninja Warrior last night!  She did a great job!  Michelle is an outstanding young lady who demonstrates her Christian faith in all she does.” 


Assistant Track & Field Coach BJ Temple also spoke very highly of Michelle saying, “Michelle was everything you could want in a UC athlete.  She would do whatever was asked of her.  Also, as good as Michelle was as a track athlete, she is an even better person.  We are so proud of all she is accomplishing.”


Warnky commented on her time at UC saying, “I really truly appreciated my time at UC and everything it has done for me as a person.  I am so thankful for Coach Stroud and Coach Temple and the entire Cumberlands family for what they have done in my life.” 


Michelle will now be trying her luck in the St. Louis Regional Final.  That date has yet to be announced, but will be shown on NBC on Monday nights at 9 pm EST.   


For more information on Michelle’s run, as well as other Patriot athletics please visit