Marcellus student competes on American Ninja Warrior Junior
By Jason Gabak
On Saturday, Oct. 13 Anella Bolster, an eighth grader from Marcellus will be featured on American Ninja Warrior Junior.
Her appearance is a peak in her interest in ninja, an athletic discipline that challenges competitors to take on obstacle courses of increasing levels of difficulty.
Bolster said she first got interested in ninja when visiting her cousins in Rochester and taking a trip to the Warrior Factory in 2017.
“I had been doing gymnastics most of my life,” Bolster said. “I was kind of looking for something different to do. I thought this was more fun. I just really liked it. It takes a lot, you have to be in shape and challenge yourself. If there is something you can’t do, you have to keep trying, you have to push yourself.”
Bolster quickly took to her newfound interest and was traveling to Rochester twice a week to practice.
Bolster’s mother Kathryn said her daughter has shown her commitment by traveling as needed to train, but also working on her skills at home, all while managing her school work and other commitments.
Bolster is on the MCS modified cross-country and track teams and is going to give volleyball a try this year.
She was vice president of student council, is a member of National Junior Honor Society, participates in Science Olympiad and finished last year with a 98.57 average.
“She puts in the work,” Kathryn said. “She keeps a tight schedule.”
Bolster said as this school year is just getting underway, she has been traveling to Rochester less, but still practices as much as possible at home, while still staying focused on her school work and cross country.
“I have a study hall and do a lot of my work there and when I have time between school and cross country starting,” Bolster said. “After cross country I work out for at least a half hour.”
As Bolster built her skills, she became interested in the competitive opportunities of her new found interest in ninja.
Bolster entered her first competition in October of 2017.
In her first year competing, Bolster ended up qualifying for the National Ninja League Finals in February 2018 and she has already qualified for nationals again this year in the 13 to 14 age group.
Through Facebook, Bolster learned about American Ninja Warrior Junior and began the application process.
“It was a long application process,” Kathryn said. “We sent a lot videos.”
This process began in April and after a long process, Bolster learned she had been selected.
Out of more than 10,00o applicants, Bolster was one of only 192 that were selected for three different age groups ranging from 9 to 14.
Bolster and her family traveled to Los Angeles for five days for the show in July and spent time not only filming the competition, but also training, getting the opportunity to learn from members of the adult version of American Ninja Warrior such as Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbaja-Biamila.
Iseman and Gbaja-Biamila also serve as commentators on the show along with Olympic gold medalist Laurie Hernandez, who serves as host.
“That was great,” Kathryn said. “We got to meet a lot of the warriors. The whole trip was a lot of fun.”
Since the episode has not yet aired, Bolster said she can’t talk about how she did, but could say it was an inspiring experience.
“It was a lot of fun,” she said. “It was fun to meet other kids. Doing this gives you something to talk about. I met a lot of other kids that are into this and the other warriors, that was a lot of fun.”
Bolster could say she has a lot planned as she gets ready for this year’s nationals and will be traveling all over for competitions.
“It is fun,” Kathryn said. “We get the whole family and we make a mini-vacation out of it.”