Kato Ninja Warrior tests the strengths of students and locals

After a three year hiatus, Minnesota State University, Mankato brought back Kato Ninja Warrior. The event, which occurred this past Saturday night, tested the strength and agility of 10 students and community members.

MSU Student Events Team Special Events Coordinator Ryan Leistikow explained that the event was made possible by working closely with Conquer Ninja Gyms out of the Twin Cities.

“They are the ones who provided the ninja equipment itself with items such as the Salmon Ladder, warped wall, unstable bridge and more,” said Leistikow. “We also worked with USA inflatables to bring in a series of inflatable obstacles like big balls, vortex and an obstacle course.”

Kato Ninja Warrior was not MSU student-specific. Participants came from Bethany Lutheran College, South Central College, and the general Mankato community. 

“We had 18 MSU students registered to participate, seven Bethany Lutheran students, one person from the Mankato community and one person from South Central. We also had 33 people registered into a raffle of 10 more positions,” noted Leistikow. 

The event hosted a preliminary run from 3 to 6 p.m. to wean the 37 entrants down to the final 10. They then followed with the public run at 6:30 p.m. 

Participants had to complete the obstacles in order: inflatables, the “alley,” the balance obstacles, and the classic Ninja Warrior wall. 

The first fall in the alley added 45 seconds to the participants time while the second fall eliminated them. In order to win, participants had to press the buzzer at the top of the wall. 

Several of the competitors struggled to get through the course without taking a fall. The uneven bridge, a large hanging plank tethered on either end that the competitor must hold on to and balance, was also particularly difficult..

The one competitor that made it all the way through the course and won the competition was John Manter. Manter is an avid rock climber, so many of his previous skills translated well into this event. 

“I rock climb as much as I can. At least once a week, if not more,” said Manter.

Going through the course felt like an out-of-body experience for Manter. 

“I was completely zoned out, it was like I was looking at myself from up above,” said Manter. “I wasn’t expecting to win, some of those guys out there are really strong. It felt really good.”

Some of the event sponsors, such as All Star Nutrition, Summit Heights Apartments, and Trade Home Shoes, provided prize packages and medals for the top three placements in the competition.

The Student Events Team has many upcoming events over the next month, including the Tai Verdes concert, a drag show and the Night of Maverick Mayhem.

Header Photo: Kato Ninja Warrior returned after three years to Minnesota State University, Mankato. Several students from MSU ran the course as well as students from Bethany Lutheran College, South Central College and the Mankato Community. (Courtesy photo)

Write to: Syd Berggren at sydney.berggren@mnsu.edu

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