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Taylor Amann heads to the National Finals in her rookie season

The pole vaulter topped the women’s leaderboard in the Oklahoma City Finals

Brett Deering/NBC

Taylor Amann is proving to be an American Ninja Warrior natural. After a strong debut on Team Ninja Warrior: College Madness, Taylor set her sights on the big course. As a three-time Big Ten Champion as part of the University of Wisconsin’s pole vaulting team, Taylor is no stranger to staying calm under pressure.

In the Oklahoma City Qualifiers, Taylor navigated her way to the fifth obstacle, Coconut Climb. For the City Finals, she blasted past that personal record and made it all the way to the eighth obstacle, Crazy Clocks. That made Taylor the number one woman in the region as she moves on to her very first National Finals.

Get to know the rookie Ninja a bit better with her interview below.

Going into this season with minimal Ninja Warrior experience but lots of competition time

“My motivation is just do the best I can do. Obviously no one has done this course before, but I haven’t done anything like it besides Team (Ninja Warrior). It’s a lot bigger and different. I just want to see what I can do.

I’ve been training basically my whole life, not for this particularly, but it’s putting me in a great spot. You know, gymnastics and pole vaulting. I think I have what it takes. So, I’m excited to see what I can do.

I’ve competed my whole life, and I’m just so used to performing in front of an audience. I think this is a great opportunity to do that again. It means a lot to me, just to see what I can do for myself and see what I can do for my community and my family and friends back home.”

Making it to the National Finals in her first season

“I was surprising myself as I went through it (the City Finals course) because I’ve never been on the course before, obviously. This is my first year. I didn’t know how it was going to go, but I was taking it one obstacle at a time and I was really surprising myself and it was making me really confident and I was getting motivated for what’s to come.

It felt amazing. I was honestly super surprised because I felt like a lot of the girls were doing really well. And I think a few of us fell on the same obstacle so I really didn’t know at that point. And then I found out that I’m making it and I was so excited.

I’ve been training a lot of speed and cardio so I feel like I could do well. Yeah. I feel confident. I think I’m ready.”

What everyone should know about her

“I’m stronger than I look.”