CONCORD, CA (July 9, 2023) — A chiropractor from Concord is among the locals competing in the 2023 season of American Ninja Warrior.
The obstacle course competition show has aired on NBC since 2009. Competitors from various disciplines including rock climbing, pole vaulting and gymnastics face a series of increasingly difficult obstacles. The challenges have names like the salmon ladder, log grip, jumping spider and warped wall. They require strength, speed, balance and intense training.
Over the years, several East Bay residents have competed on ANW. Alan Connealy, a chiropractor and gym owner from Concord, first appeared in Season 3, and has been on the show 8 times. “A lot of the ninjas regard me as one of the pioneers,” Connealy said. “But I’ve got news for ya. I’m not done.”
Connealy has made it to the finals of the competition 5 times and returned for another round in the current season. He last competed in 2017. His qualifying run aired on June 5.
More local ninjas
Brian Kretsch, 40, of Alamo, is also a longtime ANW competitor, having appeared on every season. He has reached the finals on several occasions.
Following Season 1, Kretsch and fellow ninja David Campbell are credited with building the USA’s first full Ninja Warrior training course. Now these types of gyms can be found across the country, including Traverse Fitness in Richmond where Kretsch works as a manager and Connealy’s gym, MVMNTM on Detroit Ave. in Concord.
Another local ninja competitor this season, Noah Jones, attends Clayton Valley Charter High School and is a member of the school’s Ugly Eagles wrestling team. Jones has already made it past the qualifying rounds and moved on to the next stage which will air later this summer.
One of the more well-known names among East Bay ANW competitors, Sean Bryan of Concord, will make his qualifying attempt in the July 10 episode.
Season 15 spoilers
Alan Connealy competed in the season’s first episode in early June. The show has added a new feature this year where the top 11 men and top 4 women qualifiers move on to the semi-finals while the next lowest 2 run a special challenge course against each other for the last qualifier spot. Connealy finished 12th.
In the men’s competition, the 42-year-old Connealy ran the course against 24-year-old Ramcis Valdez, a ninja rookie from New York. Both men fell while attempting the same obstacle, where they had to swing from ledge to ledge using only their hands, however, Valdez had a faster time at the beginning of that challenge and eliminated Connealy for the season.
Brian Kretsch also did his qualifying competition last month. In his 15th season, he expressed his determination to overcome balance obstacles that have stymied his efforts in the past. Unfortunately, during qualifiers he stumbled on a balance challenge called the Domino Effect. After falling he stated that he will not return, at least for the next season.
American Ninja Warrior airs Mondays on NBC and streams on Peacock.