Century High School grad Andy Jacobs taking athleticism to American Ninja Warrior

Andy Jacobs will compete in the third and final qualifying run next week in California.

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Andy Jacobs, left, climbs over ninja-like obstacles to prepare for American Ninja Warrior with her niece, Addison.
Contributed / Andy Jacobs

ROCHESTER — The tryout video Andy Jacobs sent to American Ninja Warrior showed the entirety of her athletic career: clips of diving and gymnastics throughout high school, and highlights of track and field in high school and at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her Big 10 medals made a cameo, too.

Jacobs' niece, 8-year-old Addison Rae, also had a big role in the video.

“If you ask her, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?,’” Jacobs said, “she’s like, ‘I want to be athletic like my auntie.’ There’s a video of her saying that in there.”

Jacobs is set to prove her athleticism in season 15 of American Ninja Warrior, as she flies to California on Monday, March 20 for her qualifying run. It’s easy to imagine that Jacobs, a Century High School graduate, will have success on the show.

She started gymnastics as a 2-year-old and added diving and track and field in seventh grade. Jacobs then pole vaulted at Nebraska, using all five years of collegiate eligibility.


As a longtime fan of the show, she always thought the idea of being a ninja was cool. Others agreed, telling Jacobs to try it.

She graduated from Nebraska in 2021 and quickly missed the competitive nature of athletics. Last year, two friends suggested sending in a video to American Ninja Warrior. Jacobs applied the first week of December, and she was contacted by the show in mid-February.

Jacobs is in the third and final qualifying round next week. The semifinals, if she moves on, would be the following day. The finals in Las Vegas are over a month later, taking place at the end of April or early May.

Her training focus has been on grip strength, so Jacobs has been consistently rock climbing. She’s also prepared for ninja obstacles at a gym in Eden Prairie a few nights every week.

Though she’s done her best to train for the competition, the exciting and nerve wracking part of American Ninja Warrior is not knowing the obstacles ahead of time.

“You kind of just have to wing it,” Jacobs said. “It takes the pressure off a little bit and helps keep it fun. I'm nervous that I don't know what the obstacles are going to be, but it also makes me feel better because we're all in the same boat.”

Her parents and boyfriend will fly out to watch Jacobs compete. Her sister and niece won’t be in person, but Jacobs knows they’ll be supporting from afar. After all, Jacobs is doing this, in part, for Addison.

“I want to be able to inspire her,” she said. “I’m hoping that I do well on this for her.”

Abby Sharpe joined the Post Bulletin in February 2022 after graduating from Arizona State University with a sports journalism degree. While at ASU, she created short- and long-form stories for audio and digital. Readers can reach Abby at 507-285-7723 or
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