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Quest O’Neal wanted to make a name for herself, and she succeeded

The rookie’s infectious energy pushed her to the City Finals.

Cooper Neill/NBC

On the season premiere of American Ninja Warrior, we watch dozens of strong, impressive runs, but Quest O’Neal stuck out to us. The rookie was a dark horse in the competition and she took viewers from, “Who’s that?” To, “OH WOW” in just about one minute flat.

Quest introduced herself to the audience by sharing the story of her rough upbringing, and her indomitable spirit. In spite of everything she’s faced, Quest has an undeniable positive energy.

We had a change to chat with Quest before she stepped on to the Dallas Qualifying course. We found her to be an excited new Ninja, ready to embrace the experience, come what may. What came was a run so good she qualified for the top 30 and will be back for the City Finals!

ANW: Quest O'Neal LEAK

She used to test the courses, now watch her first run as a Ninja.

Posted by Ninja Warrior on Wednesday, May 30, 2018

“Balance is what makes me the most nervous. When I did my first National Ninja League competition, that was the obstacle that knocked me out. I realized how off my balance really was. I thought it was really good. From that moment on, anything with balance was never-wracking.

I’m going to have to just mentally tell myself that I can do it. Everything, to me, is mindset at the end of the day. I believe that whatever you tell yourself you can do, you can do. Whenever you tell yourself you can’t, you won’t accomplish it. When I’m standing there and I’m looking at that obstacle, I’m going to tell myself I can do it. I’m going to take a couple of breaths, bring my chills down, and just go for it.

At the end of the day, just tell myself to have fun and just do it.”

“Zhanique (Lovett) is one of the biggest inspirations for me. She reminds me so much of my mom. She’s such a mother figure to me. Just to be able to see her do that, it gives me goosebumps even talking about it now because it inspires me so much. You have your kids at home, you’re doing it for them, for the family, for all the people you want to inspire. When I see her leave it all out on the course, and her little son doing flips on the sideline, it just hyped me up so much.

I study (Barclay Stockett) to learn from the best. Those two are my role models and inspiration right now.

Hopefully I get to meet them both. I have not met them yet!”

“Whether it’s physical or mental, (Ninja Warrior) helps me overcome all kinds of obstacles. That’s what we do as Ninjas. I bring that into my day to day life. Whenever negativity comes around, how can I reject this? How can I move around this obstacle?

Being mentally in the game is hands down, 80% of it. When pressure is on you, you’ve got to be cool and calm and collected. Handle it and think clearly. As soon as you let the pressure build you up, you’re acting off of instinct and that’s the easiest way to make a mistake.”

“My expectations for myself are to basically have fun. I have a lot of supporters back home who are watching me. They’re just proud that I even made it this far. My expectation is to go out and make a name for myself. I want people to know who I am, for sure. And in the process have fun and make sure I engage them with me because it’s about fun! Have fun, make a name for myself, take it one obstacle at a time.”