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Mady Howard’s strategy for her first buzzer: ‘I was just trying keep calm and take it one obstacle at a time.’

The ICU nurse kicked off her season with her very first buzzer.

Elizabeth Morris/NBC

Mady Howard almost didn’t take part in season 12 of American Ninja Warrior. As an ICU nurse, she’s been living with the stress of the pandemic firmly on her shoulders. In the end, she decided to join the Ninjas for her sophomore season, sharing that she wanted to help spread a little joy.

We’re all happy she made that choice. Mady hit her first buzzer in a thrilling run during the fourth night of Qualifiers. In season 11, Mady had a breakout performance on the Seattle/Tacoma course. She placed eighth overall in the City Finals and made it to the National Finals.

Her first buzzer hopefully marks the start of another great season for Mady. Read on for her thoughts on that course completion and making a season of Ninja Warrior during unprecedented times.

Elizabeth Morris/NBC

“My run went really well! I was a lot more nervous this year going into it. People knew me in the community now. There was more expectation. I was just trying keep calm and take it one obstacle at a time. I had my plan through the course and I did the best I could.

This was my first buzzer! As I was coming down on Sideways, those last three jumps I was just breathing. ‘Okay, just two more!’ When I finally got off of that and saw the wall, I was just so excited.”

Elizabeth Morris/NBC

“The world is so crazy right now. To have this to look forward to and to train for, it’s been really exciting. I think it’s awesome, the community that we have here, in that everybody can come together despite some of our different beliefs or different views. I just think it’s really awesome. We can all support each other.”

Mady’s next run will be on a 10-obstacle Semi-Finals course. We’re hoping she can repeat season 11’s performance and make her way to the Finals!