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Seth Rogers’ rookie season rolls on after Stage One buzzer

He’s competing alongside those that he’s watched on the show for years.

David Becker/NBC

Rookie Seth Rogers is making the most of his first American Ninja Warrior season. He advanced to the City Finals in Los Angeles, where he worked his way to the ninth obstacle, Leaps of Faith. Seth’s timing sent him through to his very first National Finals.

That’s a pretty huge moment for any competitor. More so for Seth, who’s been a super fan of the show for years and took up training at just age 13. After watching his heroes take on Stage One, he got the chance to do it himself.

And he did a pretty great job! Seth cleared Stage One with just a couple of small errors that didn’t take up too much time, or send him into the water. As the field of Ninjas gets smaller and smaller for this season, Seth is one of the few rookies left standing. His next mission will be the always-daunting Stage Two.

Seth spoke to us about what it’s like to go from top fan to top Ninja in just his first year.

Lara Solanki/NBC

“The City Finals experience was almost kind of a blur, because it was my first time doing it. I honestly didn’t expect that I would make it to the City Finals. I was really excited because I watched the show for so many years, and had seen all the people that had coached me do it. I felt confident in a sense that I had the ability to do it, but I just kind of messed up a little bit.

For one, I was pretty nervous. I didn’t really manage time well and efficiently to rest in between obstacles. Then, I also didn’t really practice that reverse grip technique on obstacle nine that was in the City Finals, and that’s kind of how it goes. If you’re not 100% focused in those kinds of moments, then it’s going to cost you.

Thankfully I went far enough to make it, but I don’t really consider it a win, honestly. I mean, it’s a win that I made it here, but it’s almost like I kind of relied on everyone else to also not get it to get here, instead of securing that spot by hitting the buzzer, if that makes sense.”

David Becker/NBC

“I was honestly excited. I take it back! It definitely was a win because when I was being interviewed, I was like, ‘Man, everyone got to this obstacle. I don’t think I went fast enough.’ I thought more people hit the last ledge than I did, so I was like, ‘Ah, I don’t know. It’s dicey.’ Then during the interview they’re like, ‘You’re going to Vegas.’ Then I had to pop off. I was super excited about it. It’s weird because I’m really excited to be in Vegas. I consider it an achievement, but I wish I would’ve gotten there by hitting the buzzer.”

David Becker/NBC

“I would assume Stage One is not going to be too terrible, in terms of the obstacles that they’re willing to to put up, because they want some people to make it through to Stage Two. Then as soon as it gets to Stage Two, all bets are off. Then that time aspect is definitely going to be hard to manage as well.

I’m expecting kind of the same as last time -- to apply what I’ve learned over the years on this course, that includes what I learned in Qualifiers and City Finals, just take time to relax and pace really well, look at the obstacles more thoroughly to have a game plan going into it, have fun obviously. It’s definitely what I’m expecting as well.”

Seth will face Stage Two on Monday, September 9 at 8/7c on NBC.