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Rookie Zach Day poured his heart into the City Finals

His father was with him on the course.

Rookie Zach Day’s American Ninja Warrior experience is inextricably connected to the recent loss of his father. Zach’s dad, Brian, was a huge supporter of his training, taking him to local competitions and cheering him on. The Day family suffered a tremendous blow when Brian passed away from a sudden heart attack. The day of his father’s funeral, Zach got the call that he’d been selected for the show.

In the Philadelphia Qualifiers, Zach made a strong debut by making it to the Lightning Bolts with a quick time, ranking in the fourteenth position. He also happens to be the youngest competitor this season (Zach is youngest of the 19-year-olds). In the City Finals, he put all of his emotions into the obstacles.

He maintained a strong pace. Zach was at the fourth obstacle in just about 35 seconds.

He got back to the Lightning Bolts, the obstacle that ended his Qualifying run, and made it through, carefully watching each side of the bar.

Before he approached the Warped Wall, he took a moment to think of his dad.

And with ease, he finished his first Warped Wall (on the show).

We’d seen Zach training the Salmon Ladder with his dad, so we knew he was familiar with the obstacle.

Then it was time for the Captain’s Wheel. The new obstacle had proved to be an energy-suck for many competitors.

Before swapping to the second wheel, Zach took a long break to shake out his arms.

He did end up making the transfer, but soon after, his grip was exhausted and he was in the water. But with another respectable time, he placed ninth for the night. Zach will continue his rookie season in Las Vegas.