Sherwood's teenage ninja
Lucy Langer is a ninja.
That isn't hyperbole. Lucy, an incoming high school freshman, recently took second place in the 10-13 girls' category of the United Ninja Athlete Association's World Finals in Albuquerque, N.M. In her final round, she completed a total of nine out of 11 obstacles in 13 minutes and 13 seconds.
Those obstacles involved swinging from rings, climbing ropes, walking on rolling logs and slack lines, climbing walls and more — think the NBC reality competition show "American Ninja Warrior."
She has been training at Skyhook Ninja Fitness in Tigard since October. She made it through a local and regional competition, before joining 30 other girls in her category at the national competition, held July 19 through 21.
"I just like climbing and swimming and hanging on things," said Lucy, who also runs cross country and plays volleyball, "and this was a perfect thing to do."
In the final round, competitors were awarded one point for each obstacle completed in the allotted time. Ties were broken by individual course times.
"Each obstacle has its own set of rules," said Nikki Langer, Lucy's mom. " They're very particular about how you start, how you finish, and where you place your hands. If you fail the obstacle, you can try to redo it one time. If you fail again on that one or any other one, you're out."
Lucy said she spends two to three hours per day training, be that with her personal trainer, during open gym time, or in the corner of her family's garage that's been equipped with a few obstacle course staples.
"I'm really good at the upper body stuff," she said when asked about her strengths. "Balance is the hardest thing for me."
At the national meet, Lucy competed against kids who had appeared in the youth version of "American Ninja Warrior," and beat them all. She had a strong cheering section made up of family from Oregon and Arizona, and friends from Skyhook Ninja Fitness.
"I was so nervous competing in the morning both times," Lucy said. "Every time I compete in the morning, I can't eat because I'm so nervous."
She placed fourth in the preliminary round, qualifying for finals, which didn't take place until 10 p.m. By that point, her nerves had calmed down, and she took the second spot.
"Her goal when she went was to make it to the finals, so we were so excited for her," Nikki said. "And she works so hard training, so it was so fun to see her do something that she really loved, and find success."
Lucy graduated from St. Francis Catholic School in Sherwood this year, and soon will start high school at Jesuit. She said she's looking forward to meeting new people, after having an 8th grade class of just 16 kids.
She also plans to continue her ninja pursuits.