Local athletes qualify for national ninja competition

STURGIS, S.D. – A group of kids from around the Black Hills are currently training to compete against some of the best ninja’s from across the United States.

The group of kids, ranging in age from 8 to 16, will travel to Las Vegas to compete in the Ultimate Ninja Athletic Association World Series Championship Finals.

The kids reached the Ninja World Series Championship through their performances at regional qualifiers in Sioux Falls and Colorado.

The team will compete in obstacles similar to what you see on American Ninja Warrior but without the water pits.

The kids earn points for how many obstacles they conquer.

The competition is meant to test the athletes on strength, agility and balance among others.

“What they do is they go through three different stages,” said Colt Scott, coach at the Northern Hills Gymnastics Academy. “If you fall three times during your course, you can finish the course but you don’t move onto the next stage. You have to get so far into the course point wise and speed wise, like top 50 percent, to move on to the next stage and then to the next stage. So it whittles down more and more as you get further along.”             

The kids spend hours every week training at the Northern Hills Gymnastics Academy in Sturgis.

The team members that qualified for the Ninja World Series Championship include Tucker Benson, Ryan Tschetter, Canyon King, Levi Bestgen and Alisha Tschetter.

“Well I’ve been working out here and I’ve rocked climb a really long time,” said Alisha Tschetter. “So I keep going to the gym and rock climb. I’m super excited. I’m also very nervous.”

“If you fall, you….if it’s sudden death, you end right away,” said Levi Bestgen. “If it’s not, then you can keep on going.”

The UNAA World Series Championship Finals run from July 29-31 in Las Vegas.

Categories: High School, Sports