- Associated Press - Sunday, May 8, 2016

FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va. (AP) - A rock climbing enthusiast from Fayetteville is in the running to appear on one of NBC’s highest-rated summer series - American Ninja Warrior Season 8 - an intense obstacle course competition.

Twenty-nine-year-old Amanda Smith is a Virginia native, but came to West Virginia specifically for rock climbing by way of Arkansas.

In between visits to area crags, she works at downtown Fayetteville outfitter, Water Stone Outdoors.

Smith is one of a few hundred individuals whose application video and questionnaire were chosen to compete in qualifiers held in several cities across the country.

In mid-May she will fly out to Oklahoma City for the elimination rounds. While there Smith said they will film background stories and athletes will get acclimated to running the course at night.

Only 30 competitors will move on to the four-stage obstacle course know as Mt. Midoriyama in Las Vegas.

Interest in the show has only increased after the course was successfully beaten for the very first time in Season 7. In the three-hour Season 7 finale, Geoff Britten was the first person to beat Mt. Midoriyama, but rock climber Isaac Caldiero beat his time by seconds. Caldiero is the series first winner and took home a $1 million prize.

Rock climbing, Smith feels, will give her the upper hand.

“Climbers have advanced grip strength and upper body strength. They can calm their heart rate down and have a lot of endurance,” she explained. “Climbers have more upper body strength than other kinds of athletes.”

In preparation for the upcoming elimination, Smith has been doing a lot of endurance training like running and sprinting while continuing her upper body and core work.

“It is intimidating, but I can’t let that get in my way,” she said.

Few women have made the top 30 cut, but Smith said she thinks being a woman is an advantage. Women have lighter frames and high strength-to-weight ratios, she explained.

Alongside America’s Got Talent, American Ninja Warrior is the high-rated summer series.

An average of 7.1 million viewers watched Season 7, most of those between the ages 18 and 49.

Season 8 will have a two-hour premiere on NBC at 8 p.m. on June 1.


Information from: The Register-Herald, https://www.register-herald.com

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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