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The ‘Kid’ had a very grown-up outlook on season 12

He had goals and expectations, and the clarity to know it might not work out.

Mathis “Kid” Owhadi was a breakout star on American Ninja Warrior the moment he stepped on the course in season 10. One of the first 19-year-olds to join the show, Kid was an immediate contender, hitting buzzer after buzzer. In fact, in his two seasons on the show, he’s wracked up six buzzers. (Seven, counting the season 12 Qualifiers now.)

But we’ve always respected Kid for being so open that his talent doesn’t come easily. He struggles with anxiety when it comes to running the course and the pressures of the popularity of the show.

During the season 12 Qualifiers, Kid trotted through the course and even attempted the Mega Wall. He came up short, but still managed to finish high on the leaderboard. After that run, he shared with us that he had been more than a little stressed about his return.

“I feel good. I’ve been stressed all day. The past couple of days have been awful. Just super nervous, can’t get food down, but it feels good to have pushed past the thoughts in my head of like, ‘Man, don’t even do this. It’s not worth it. Just go home.’ Just kind of sitting in these shitty feelings and knowing that there’s good coming out the other end of it. So it’s good to have hit a buzzer and it feels good to push it.”

Back for the Semi-Finals, Kid faced a long course and the brand new obstacle, Corkscrew, which was unlike anything most of the Ninjas had trained on before. The jolt of the second drop sent him into the water. For the first time in his career, Kid wasn’t moving on past the Semi-Finals, an equivalent of the City Finals.

But the Kid was ready for this.

“Honestly, I hadn’t looked ahead further than the Mega Wall and the Qualifier course, just because I was very focused on it, but honestly, I’m here to have fun. I didn’t get as much time to train as I usually do, so for me this is a fun season. I’ll do my best, but at the end of the day, whatever happens, I’ve already made peace with it. I’ve already accepted it. I’m just going to go out there and have fun, do my best. And hopefully, if that’s good enough, I’ll make it fine.”

For someone who goes by the nickname “Kid,” he looks at the course and the competition with the maturity of someone with many more seasons under their belt. Kid might be done for the year, but it won’t slow down either his personal progress or his athletic abilities as he grows within this sport.