Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Dani Hemmat

Gunbarrel girls tackle obstacles one at a time


August 17, 2018

Danielle Heinrichs

Sorenne, Secorra and Anabella Heinrichs climbing the Warped Wall obstacle in New Mexico.

Three Gunbarrel kids are tackling obstacles, but not out of necessity. They’re doing it for fun.

The three Heinrichs girls—Anabella (14), her sister Secorra (11), and cousin Sorenne (9)—are all Junior American Ninja Warriors. They run, balance, jump, hang, scramble, climb, fall, get up and do it over and over again, simply because they love it.

Based on a Japanese show, American Ninja Warrior is a burgeoning sport that began as a television reality show of the same name, in which competitors strive to complete intense and progressively difficult obstacle course in the hopes of becoming an “American Ninja Warrior.” While two people have finished the course, only one contender has achieved that title, Coloradoan Isaac Caldiero of Fort Collins. What began as a reality show is growing into an international sport with leagues, associations and multiple competitions.

The courses are grueling and almost every obstacle depends on upper body strength. Athletes climb using pegs on boards, swing from bar to bar, run on balance beams and jump from obstacle to obstacle. Ninja training gyms are popping up all over the state, and there are Colorado companies which will design and build an obstacle training course in your backyard. Danielle Heinrichs, Anabella and Secorra’s mother, said that part of their backyard is being dedicated to one such training space.

“These girls train at Warrior Playground in Longmont for a minimum of 12 hours a week, and it’s still not enough for them. They want to train at home, too,” she said.

While 12 hours a week seems like a lot, the girls adore training for the sport. None of the three were ever excited by organized team sports, with each preferring individual challenges. When Sorenne began the Ninja Warrior training, her cousins quickly followed. Now they all compete regionally and nationally, traveling the country to qualify for the chance to be a contender with other young athletes.

“It’s like they found their tribe,” their mother said. “And, it’s also a good all-around workout.” Danielle started training Ninja-style a year ago, once she realized she was already spending so much time taking her girls to their gym.

“I’m strong, but not American Ninja-strong. That’s a whole different kind of strong,” she said.

Anabella agrees. “It’s a lot harder than it looks. You’re going to have to work really hard.”

Danielle Heinrichs

Anabella, Secorra and Sorenne Heinrichs hang around in their soon-to-be backyard Ninja Warrior training gym in Gunbarrel.

Clearly, the Heinrichs girls have been working very hard. In mid-July, they returned from the Ultimate NInja Athlete Association (UNAA) World Championship finals, where both Sorenne and Anabella competed. While in New Mexico, all three girls qualified for the National Ninja League (NNL) Finals.

Training is time-consuming, and physically and mentally grueling, but the girls have so much fun that they enjoy the rigor. According to Anabella, each training day varies and each athlete can work on what they need to focus on at the time. “It changes from running the obstacle courses to strength training to open gym time,” she said.

“And,” adds her sister, Secorra, “the coaches are really nice.”

When asked if they are ever scared by some of the more difficult obstacles, Anabella answered, “It’s never scary, but it’s always a challenge.”


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