The hidden Ninja killer of the American Ninja Warrior Minneapolis Qualifiers was the Ring Jump. The obstacle took out 38 of 99 competitors. One Ninja was all too familiar with the difficulty of the obstacle. In Abby Clark’s rookie year of season nine, it was the obstacle that ended her run on the Cleveland Qualifiers course.
Back for her second season, it was like fate wanted Abby to take on that obstacle again. She was originally a competitor in the Philadelphia region. But when rain washed out the last part of the night, a group of Ninjas had to move on to Minneapolis to compete. Abby was one of them, meaning Mother Nature herself delivered Abby back to Ring Jump.
It’s a good thing it happened. Abby was able to stare down her old nemesis and defeat it. She then went on to hit her very first buzzer in a thrilling start to her season. We asked Abby to tell us about the experience.
On returning for her second season
“I knew I had more in me. I went out on the Ring Jump last year. I was happy with myself, but I was like, ‘I can go further than that.’ I only had about four months of training before Cleveland. I’ve had a lot more training and time to figure it out. I knew I had to come back. “
On being rained out in Philadelphia and sent to Minneapolis, where the Ring Jump was on the course
“It was challenging, for sure. I warmed up. I was ready to go. It started to rain. They brought us under cover. We came back out. I warmed up again. It was a lot of back and forth. There was no other choice. I was so happy to come here and still get to compete. And then able to crush it too. It was awesome.”
“When I first saw the Ring Jump, I was a little nervous. For sure. I knew it took me out. I also remember back in Cleveland I had never seen the obstacle. I had no technique what-so-ever. I had to figure it out while I was on the obstacle. So I’ve had some time to play around on the Ring Jump and similar obstacles like it. When I got here I knew I had to pass it because I’ve done it, I’ve seen it now. That’s all I really wanted to do was pass that obstacle.”
What she experienced on the course
“It was really just one obstacle at a time when I got up there. Alright, you finished the steps, you’re good. Now it’s just a laché, you’re good. I had to keep reminding myself just one obstacle at a time.”
“I felt good through the Ring Jump. I felt confident. And then I had an interesting go on the balance... slid off of it. When I was on the Battering Ram I kind of hit a wall going from the second to third part. I just put my feet over the dismount and kind of let go. I didn’t know what was going to happen until I hit the mat.”
“I used the first attempt just to get on the wall. See what it feels like. I’ve never been on this wall and every wall is different. I gave it my all, but I wasn’t putting as much pressure on myself to do it on the first try. Second try I thought I was going to have it as I was going up the wall. I was less than an inch away.”
“But then for that third attempt I was like, ‘This is it.’ You can’t get to the wall and not make the wall. I just went harder than I’ve ever gone and just hoped my fingers were going to reach around the edge. As soon as they did I smiled.”
How she feels heading into the City Finals
“It’s a lot of pressure. I know a lot of people even before going into the Qualifiers were like, ‘Oh you can do this course. You got it.’ There’s definitely a lot of pressure again going into finals, but I love the pressure. I’m just going to do it and see what happens. I know a lot of Ninjas like, Meagan Martin, she’s amazing. I know she can clear the course. I’m just going to go out and do what I can and have fun with it.”
Abby was the one of 14 competitors who were able to hit the buzzer on the Minneapolis Qualifiers course. She’ll aim to do it again in the City Finals!