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American Ninja Warrior gains two “ninjas” from the Cedar Valley area

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CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (KWWL) - Two competitors were chosen from the Cedar Valley to be on this season of American Ninja Warrior.

Hudson's Jackson Twait and Cedar Falls' Isaiah Barney are the two "ninjas" out of 150 competitors in this season. The reason for the change in number of competitors is the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I freaked out a little bit. I was at work at the gym actually in the morning when I called them back, and I’m pretty sure there’s security footage of me running around and freaking out inside the gym right when I got the call,” Isaiah Barney said.

This will be Jackson Twait's second consecutive year on the show. Last year he competed in multiple rounds and ended up being a city finalist in Cincinnati.

“When I got the call, I was kind of in disbelief. I was just really surprised because I wasn’t totally sure I was going to get it with only 150 ninjas instead of the usual 600,” Jackson Twait said.

Both competitors train at Ninja U in Cedar Falls, where one of the owners is also an American Ninja Warrior alum. Scott Behrends competed last year alongside Jackson, and became a Las Vegas finalist.

“It was an incredible opportunity to show what an old dad can do sometimes," Ninja U co-owner Scott Behrends said.

Along with the absence of an audience cheering on the ninjas, other precautions also needed to be taken by the competitors. Wearing a mask up until they stepped onto the course, and using hand sanitizer right before they ran, were among those safety measures.

Jackson Twait's episode is expected to air Sept. 4, and Isaiah Barney's Sept. 28.

Season 12 of American Ninja Warrior will air on Mondays at 7pm CT on NBC.

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Diego Hernandez

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