The University of the Cumberlands (UC) continues to make its name heard on many different levels when it comes to mainstream media. Once again, the Patriots are being well represented, this time on NBC on the hit television show “American Ninja Warrior”.
Junior Brendan Kelly (Lexington, KY) is an NAIA All-American track and field athlete at UC while also being an All-American for the Patriot football team. After two successful seasons on the gridiron and the track, Kelly took his chances and participated in the first round of competition for the American Ninja Warrior television series that airs on NBC and G4.
"My dad initially applied for me," Kelly said when asked how he was chosen for the competition. "He sent in a five-minute video of me explaining why I should be picked for the show. They liked it." During his video, Kelly explains some of the obstacles he has already overcome in his career at UC, including a major injury in 2010 that nearly sidelined his career. The resilient Kelly did extensive rehab and was back on the playing surface in just 2 ½ months.
Kelly traveled to Miami to compete in one of six regional competitions. As he completed the course and finished 10th in the Southeast regional, Kelly earned a spot in the “American Ninja Warrior” finals for a shot at “total victory”. The winner and runner-up of American Ninja Warrior 2012 will now be going to Japan to compete on the famous course on Mount Midoriyama as in years past. Working with NBC, which will tape and air the finals, the course was duplicated in Las Vegas for the finalists. The finals were held on April 21 and 22.
On participating in the first round of the American Ninja Warrior and making the finals, Kelly commented, “Getting to the finals was a goal in itself. Spending a week in Las Vegas was an awesome experience. I knew from the beginning that I could complete the regional stages and make it to the finals. It was just down to me going out and doing it. I made a lot of friends while I was there. Befriending a member of the Harlem Globetrotters as well as the winner of American Gladiators Season 2 Tim Oliphant was great.”
Brendan competed for the right to claim “total victory”, but came up short as his chance at the obstacle course was cut off by the Jumping Spider obstacle. Kelly said, “Overall it was a great experience and I can’t wait to do it again next season.”
The winner, whether he or she achieves total victory or not, will receive $500,000. Coverage of the national finals, previously recorded in Las Vegas, began July 8th on G4.
For more information on the UC football program, the UC track and field program, and other Patriot athletics, please visit www.cumberlandspatriots.com.