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Jake Murray: ‘I think I lost sight of the fact that I tend to perform best when I’m loose’

After a little fun at the starting line, Jake took home the fastest time on Stage One.

We think it’s fair to say that, even though we haven’t seen Stage Two yet, Jake Murray has solidified his comeback season. He fell very early in the American Ninja Warrior Denver Qualifiers in season nine and the moment has haunted him.

“...I was kind of experiencing PTSD from the year before because I so badly did not want to feel that way again. Never in my life have I ever felt anything like that.”

But after completing both the Minneapolis Qualifiers and City Finals courses, Jake was feeling more like himself. On Stage One of the National Finals, we saw a flash of the fun Jake personality we’re used to. He had Grant McCartney pretend to be his “shoe caddy” at the start. With that laugh to release any lingering tension, Jake ripped through the course, snagged the fastest time on the stage and jumped into the water for good measure.

We followed up with Jake to talk about his decision to get back to some lighthearted fun and how it came together for him on that tricky stage.

“I was feeling loosey goosey, but focused. I was experiencing a small bit of nerves, but the caddy skit helped me forget about them. It was a nice to experience the reminder that if I have fun with it I am going to relax. As for my qualifying run in Minneapolis, I was very nervous after coming off of a bad season and all I wanted was a buzzer. I think I lost sight of the fact that I tend to perform best when I’m loose.”

“When I first laid eyes on Stage One, I was siggity-psyched! No matter the season, Stage One has lent itself to the fun category and the few seasons I have been lucky enough to play on it has been no different.

I didn’t let the Double Dipper get into my head, but nor did I underestimate it. I was concentrating on the obstacle in front of me. That’s something I like about Stage One, the pace I tend to run doesn’t allow me to get ahead of myself and second guess.”

David Becker/NBC

“If I went as fast as possible, I probably wouldn’t clear the first obstacle. I have a decent pace on the course and it helps me to avoid second guessing or hesitating. The priority for every Ninja isn’t to go fast, it’s to clear. I feel like my odds of clearing are best if I go at my pace.”

David Becker/NBC

“When I was told I had the fastest time it felt good to hear I’d be running Stage Two later in the night, as run order for Stage Two was slowest to fastest from Stage One. Really, it doesn’t mean anything else to have the fastest time, unless you pull out a corn dog from your fanny pack and celebrate like it’s spring break ‘97.”

“It’s tough after running such a fun stage and dumping a good bit of adrenaline, knowing you have to do it again the next night. This year, I chose to stay off my feet more, sleep in as much as possible, and stay hydrated.”

We’ll find out if Jake’s string of success continues when he takes on Stage Two on September 10!