For those of you who watch the popular T.V. show American Ninja Warrior, you might be shocked to learn that a student in our school community, Aidan Doherty (IV), is training and competing just like the athletes on this show. Although he is still too young to actually appear on American Ninja Warrior, since competitors must be at least 19 years old, Doherty is training with the National Ninja League (NNL). The NNL is composed of contestants ranging from ages six to over 40. They are split up into seven age groups, and Doherty is a part of the young adult group (ages 15-17).
So how does competing in the NNL work? At a qualifying competition, each athlete must run through an obstacle course that comprises 10 to 20 obstacles. The competitor that makes it the furthest on the course with the fastest time wins. The top three competitors from each age group then move on to the World Championship.
Doherty describes the athletes as competitive and supportive. “[Even] while your friends are trying to beat you and win the competition, they are also standing right beside you cheering you on.”
Slightly different from American Ninja Warrior, there are many competitions during the season for athletes in the NNL to compete and qualify in. Doherty has competitions every weekend during his season that starts in August and ends in April. His training, which is at least two days a week at his gym, includes obstacles from the show American Ninja Warrior and their own drills that they created.
In the past couple of years, Doherty has been ranked around 50 in the world and his goal for next season is to place in the top 30. Doherty is hoping to qualify for the show American Ninja Warrior, but he still has “four years to train hard until then.” Good luck to Aidan, and we hope to see him competing on T.V. one day!