Two or three times per week, you can find Anna Muntean training at a local gym. The 12-year-old girl from Livonia loves to create different obstacle courses that include balance, flying through the air and climbing up and over things.
“I like to try different ways to do obstacles,” she says. “If I can do it the basic way, I try to step it up.”
Anna’s dedication to training is what landed her a spot on season 3 of American Ninja Warrior Junior, a spinoff of American Ninja Warrior, which is now streaming on Peacock. You can catch up on this season’s episodes right now, and see Anna on the Sept. 30 show.
Being a part of the show is a dream come true for this local tween. Anna says she watched American Ninja Warrior, which features contestants ages 15 and older, and knew she wanted to be a part of the Junior spinoff. She strives to someday make it on the adult version of the show. For now, though, she’s training to improve her time and hopefully gain another spot on an upcoming season of American Ninja Warrior Junior, which welcomes ages 9-14 to compete.
The head-to-head competition features multiple rounds and triple eliminations in each show. Contestants are divided into age groups: 9-10, 11-12 and 13-14 to compete. Three lucky winners take home $15,000 at the end of the competition. This season is still underway, so time will tell which contestants take home the cash.
Training and fun
Anna and her family spent six days in Los Angeles while she filmed American Ninja Warrior Junior, and the tween says the experience was a positive one.
“It’s really fun being on set because all of the people on set — casting and producers — were really nice, and I got to meet a lot of people and hang out with them a lot,” Anna notes.
While the kids are competing, Anna says every contestant is friendly and the unique thing about the show is that everyone cheers for everyone else. It keeps the experience positive for each child who is involved, whether they win or not.
When Anna is not competing on American Ninja Warrior Junior, the tween is taking advantage of different training and competition opportunities in the Midwest and beyond.
What’s her favorite part of competing? “I like that some of the leagues you get to run two courses, and they are completely different,” Anna says. “One is really hard and one is still hard but you have to go fast on it. I like that you get to try a lot of new stuff instead of one competition.”
Seeing friends is an added bonus to these competitions, as well.
“Some of them I don’t see a lot because they live in different states so I like seeing them and they are pretty much on the same skill level as me, so most of the time we are competing,” she says. But again, it’s all friendly competition.
When she isn’t focused on training and competing, Anna loves to longboard, cheer, model, do her nails, hair and makeup.
Anna’s advice for other aspiring ninjas
Other tweens who are interested in competing on American Ninja Warrior Junior can take some advice from this strong competitor. Here are three things to remember:
- Be ready to work really hard, and be OK with having to try new skills over and over before you get them.
- Be positive about yourself and other Ninjas. Ninja is all about encouraging and cheering for everyone — even your competition!
- Have fun! If you don’t have fun with what you’re doing, you don’t want to do it.
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