HENRIETTA, N.Y. — A reality show has created a generation of aspiring ninjas, all of whom competed in an obstacle competition in Rochester on Sunday.
“It’s fun. They know me, and it’s just fun being here,” said 8-year-old Briar Hinds.
Hinds has only been doing ninja warrior courses for a year and a half, but already she’s making waves.
“Last week in Buffalo she was the top overall qualifier for her age group, boys and girls. And the only finisher in her age group,” said her father, Scott Hinds.
And at Sunday’s National Ninja League qualifier in Henrietta, she won first overall in her age division again — out of 15 competitors.
“I was actually a little nervous when Briar ran, because I thought, ‘Man, she made it look too easy,'" said gym owner and American Ninja Warrior contestant Carl Fantauzzo. "I was hoping we weren’t going to have 15 clears. The worst thing you want is something too easy, but Briar showed she’s a true beast because she ended up being one of only two finishers on this course.”
Like for many her age, she likes the unique outlet the sport provides.
“I think it’s fun that they have funner [sic] stuff, not just — I like running up the wall mostly, and I like the rings," Hinds said. "I like courses and competing.”
The NNL was created four years ago by contestants of the show American Ninja Warrior, and The Warrior Factory in Henrietta is a qualifying gym.
“It’s just so exciting to see little ones tearing through and being physical in a day where technology has taken over, and we’re sitting on the couch too much, and these kids are not getting out and being active," Fantauzzo said. "I love to see these guys running, being active, sweating and really pushing themselves.”
Thirty-six of the 163 total competitors will qualify for nationals in Connecticut later this year, which doesn’t include Hinds, since she already qualified. Her spot goes to fourth place.
But for her, it’s not about qualifying anyway.
“It was really fun just doing obstacles," Hinds said. "If I fell, I still would’ve had a great time too. I’m just glad I had a chance to do it.”
Making for one very proud father.
“She really loves it, and sometimes she really thrives," Mr. Hinds said. "And that’s fun to watch, as a dad.”