Three girls excel at the state level of fitness competition
Ninja warriors have invaded Baytown.
Thanks to Athletes in Motion on West Baker Road located across from Sterling High School, three young ladies have made their mark on the fitness circuit, akin to the popular NBC television show, American Ninja Warrior.
Senior homeschooled student Kaela Carr, 17, Renata Ward, 12 of Anahuac Middle School and Elizabeth Parrack, 7, a second grader at Victoria Walker Elementary, all performed at a high level at the state Ninja Warrior competition, bringing home two runners-up and one title performance.
“It’s like obstacle course training and we race them through the obstacles for speed, balance and agility,” Meghan Carr, the owner and head coach at AIM, said. “We start them with basic coordination skills and upper and lower body strength is our No. 1 priority and then we focus with the kids on the Ninja Warrior aspect.”
Some of the activities that the athletes compete in include various jumps and movements from bars and competing in obstacle courses.
The popularity of this activity is growing according to Meghan Carr and some of that comes with parents hoping to help their children stay in shape.
“We started with our children’s fitness program and not a lot of people wanted to jump in and put their kids in a fitness class,” she said. “When we switched it to more of a ninja training, we got a lot of influx from there.”
The coach notes that a lot of kids enter the programs with different body shapes and types after not finding enjoyment in more traditional sports and thrive in the Ninja series and/or the activities that AIM offers.
The girls practice once or twice a week.
“We are more of a fitness training program so our programs range from kids’ Ninja Warrior training to adult team fitness classes,” Carr said.
Kaela Carr was a longtime gymnast until entering ninja competitions. She ultimately won the state competition at her age level. She switched to ninja training in January.
She missed half the season and still scored enough points to finish No. 1.
“I always wanted to compete but if I got hurt, it would be (a problem) for gymnastics,” Kaela Carr, who also coaches at AIM, said. “Gymnastics got me so strong and brave to do all this stuff. All the agility type obstacles are harder for me. I feel I have already been more successful in Ninja than in gymnastics.”
Ward began with the program last year and is AIM’s top 11-12-year-old athlete competing in the Texas Ninja League.
“She excelled at every competition she went to,” Meghan Carr said. “She is pretty natural at Ninja. We teach her to refine her skills, but she has a lot of bravery and goes really fast. She has a lot of good balance when she is out there.
Carr said that Ward has her eyes set on winning the Texas crown next year.
“I felt proud of myself since this is my first time doing it,” Ward said. “When I started this, I would always climb on stuff at home on our doorways and we had a pull up bar on one of them. I had a gazebo that I would always climb on.”
As far as national competition, there are a couple that the AIM athletes can compete in and the hope is to eventually move into that level of challenge.
A big obstacle for the AIM girls is that most of the state competitions that feed into the national ones, take place up north. Ultimately, who believes they will move on to the national level. Sometimes it is even tough to find local teams to go against for the local contests.
“It’s hard to get enough competitions to get that experience for state,” she said.
Parrack competed at the age 5-and-6 group and turned seven during the season, but was still able to stay in that group due to Ninja rules. She still finished second at the state meet once the competition was turned up.
“She didn’t have a lot of competition since she was the only girl at the state qualifying, but she went out, she had a good time and worked really hard,” Meghan Carr said. “When she got to state she really thrived and we can see that everything bumped up a level when she had other girls to compete against.”
Parrack was proud of herself and her teammates. She also can see where the competition has helped her in gymnastics which she enjoys doing.
“I just did what I can do,” Parrack said. “When I was at gymnastics I had to climb the rope against other kids in my class and I won. There was even a bigger girl and I beat her.”
All three girls want to compete and audition for the American Ninja Warrior show itself or the junior version that both Ward and Parrack are eyeballing.
Meghan Carr said that the numbers at the club are growing.
“We had eight that went to state and we had 15 on the team,” she said. “Anyone wants to try it, let’s try it. Throughout the season we learned a better take at which kids would thrive at it. It’s still growing and when school comes back, more kids will come back.
“The more the merrier.”
For more information, contact aimfitbaytown.com or on Facebook at Athletics in Motion or call 832-926-4058. AIM is located at 407 W. Baker Road.