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Jay Lewis rides a wave of success to the National Finals

“Having all my runs so far go basically as well as they could have, it’s something you always hope for.”

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Elizabeth Morris/NBC

Jay Lewis has a lot to say about his rookie year. As he should. He’s already accomplished a lot in his first season on the show and there’s more to come.

The American Ninja Warrior Junior alum has spent the last year or more training with none other than the legendary Joe Moravsky. And the results are fairly obvious. Jay came in seventh with a finish in the Qualifiers. But that was just an appetizer. He then took first place on night two of the Semifinals, beating his teacher to the buzzer and then facing Joe on the Power Tower.

It was there that experience came in handy for Joe. Jay did not get the Safety Pass, but he’s heading into the National Finals with a wave of success, support, and promise behind him.

Read on for Jay’s words on this season and how he’s approaching the National Finals.

Elizabeth Morris/NBC

Earning a place on the Power Tower (prior to the race with Joe)

“I wasn’t really planning on going for speed in the Semis, but when I started running, it took over. It became natural instinct. I wasn’t planning on going for the Safety Pass or having that in Vegas. I’m really excited. I want to get on the obstacles. I want to feel it out.

It’s going to be even more fun to race Joe. I’ve never been able to race him side by side. We’ve been talking about it for a while and now it’s actually happening. I know him very well. We train together three or four times a week. I know a lot of his strengths, a lot of his weaknesses.

I think it’s going to be fun. I’ll be happy with whatever happens. If I don’t get the Safety Pass, so what? Joe gets it and I’m excited for him because I want him to do well, obviously. But it’s not like I’m going to let him win.”

Elizabeth Morris/NBC

Reflecting back on the race

“The Power Tower was an interesting experience. It’s something that I’m super happy that I got to do. It wasn’t something that I felt super comfortable on. The bars at the very start, even as I was standing there at the bottom, I didn’t know what my plan was on them. I was kind of just going to go out there and wing it. That ended up really backfiring because there were a couple of moves I really wanted to try, but I was a bit scared to do. I didn’t want to fall. I took it ultraconservative on there and that really put me back at least five to seven seconds behind Joe at the very first obstacle.

I felt really good climbing up the rope and I thought there was a chance I could catch him. But my legs got really stuck on that rope and I was stuck there for probably about five seconds. It was a bit of a mess. The rest of it felt really nice. At that point, Joe was so far ahead that it didn’t really matter what I did.”

On heading to the National Finals as a teenaged rookie

“I tried to keep the expectations a bit lower since it’s my first season, I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself. My goal was to get here (National Finals). Now that I’m here, I’m feeling really confident. I really wanted to get to the National Finals. Hitting a buzzer on Stage One would truly be a dream come true.

I’m at a point where I know I’ve put in the training and I feel like I can physically beat all four stages. It’s just whether I can do it on the day.

I’ve been itching to get on the course. Having all my runs so far go basically as well as they could have, it’s something you always hope for. Everything I’ve planned for has actually happened and normally, that never happens. Knock on wood, it’s been happening. I’m hoping to just keep it up at the National Finals.”

The American Ninja Warrior National Finals will debut on Monday, August 30.