2 Southern Utah youth, including returning champ, to appear on ‘American Ninja Warrior Junior’ episode

WASHINGTON CITY — Viewers of the “American Ninja Warrior Junior” television show will see returning champion Kai Beckstrand of St. George deftly work his way through a series of obstacles as he prepares to defend his title.

Kai Beckstrand navigates obstacles during an episode of “American Ninja Warrior Junior” filmed in Los Angeles, July 2019 | Photo courtesy of Holly Beckstrand, St. George News

Beckstrand appears in the 13th episode of the second season of the popular series, which premieres at 4 p.m. Friday on Universal Kids (DirectTV channel 295, St. George TDS 234, Cedar City TDS 103). 

Beckstrand, who will be competing in the 13-14 year old age group, was one of the youngest competitors in the category when Season 2’s shows were filmed in July 2019 in Los Angeles. He won the Season 1 competition the previous year as a 12-year-old, taking home the $15,000 top prize for his efforts.

Also appearing on Friday’s episode will be Washington City resident Anna McArthur, competing in the 11-12 age group.

McArthur, who was 12 when the show was filmed last summer, also trains at The Grip Fitness, the family gym in Washington City that is owned and operated by Kai’s parents, Brian and Holly Beckstrand.

Anna McArthur navigates obstacles during an episode of “American Ninja Warrior Junior” filmed in Los Angeles, July 2019 | Photo courtesy of Holly Beckstrand, St. George News

Friday’s quarterfinal winners will advance to the competition’s semifinals, which will air June 5, with the finals being broadcast on June 12.

“I can’t wait for you guys to tune in to see if I was able to do as good as I did last year,” Kai Beckstrand told St. George News during a recent video interview at The Grip.

Beckstrand spoke of the physical obstacles he encountered during the competition, including one particularly challenging one called “sky hooks.”

Now a 14-year-old eighth-grader, Beckstrand also spoke of his ongoing battle with Type 1 diabetes, of which he was diagnosed in the spring of 2018, right before the first season of “American Ninja Warrior Junior” was filmed. 

“It really didn’t affect me too much, but I did understand that I would have to watch my blood sugar and, you know, be more careful with what I do,” he said, adding that he discusses his condition with the show’s hosts during the program.

To help manage his diabetes, Beckstrand wears a continuous glucose monitor — the Dexcom G6 — that automatically sends his blood sugar levels to him and his family every five minutes via a smartphone or smart watch, letting them know when he needs to take insulin, or in some cases ingest sugar.

“I hope I can be an inspiration to anyone with diabetes,” he added. “You don’t want to let anything hold you back.”

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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