McRitchie, a Woodward Middle School student was a finalist in the debut season of “American Ninja Warrior Junior.” (Image courtesy of Melissa McRitchie)

McRitchie, a Woodward Middle School student was a finalist in the debut season of “American Ninja Warrior Junior.” (Image courtesy of Melissa McRitchie)

WMS student is finalist on ‘American Ninja’

Bainbridge Island’s Ella McRitchie advanced to become a finalist in her age bracket in the inaugural season of “American Ninja Warrior Junior.”

The Woodward Middle School student was one of about 200 kids set to take on the iconic course — complete with warped walls, salmon ladders and the Sonic Swing, among other ominously titled obstacles — in a new spin-off of the hit extreme sports competition show. Now in its 11th season, the adult version (itself based on the Japanese TV series “Sasuke”) sees hundreds of competitors attempting to complete a series of obstacle courses, always increasing in difficulty, throughout various cities across the country, with winners advancing to the national finals in Las Vegas.

Ella was one of four finalists in the 11- to 12-year-old division, who competed on a course that included the Sonic Swing, Tic Toc, Ring Toss, Floating Tiles and Fly Wheels obstacles, as well as a 13-foot Warped Wall.

She was bested by eventual champion Kai Beckstrand.

According to program officials, “At the height of the pressure, the young athletes acted with so much maturity and humility. They also acted fast. New course records were set (once again) with breath-taking close finishes.

“It was difficult to watch the Ninjas lose their matches this deep into the competition, but they all left with a consolation prize. Fourth place took home $2,500, third place earned $5000, second place took $7,500, and the champion earned a cool $15,000.”

Co-hosts Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbajabiamila recently confirmed that “American Ninja Warrior Junior” has been green-lit for a second season on Universal Kids.

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