Before he even entered Upper School, one Marksman achieved national recognition in one of the world’s most demanding athletic competitions. Ninja obstacle courses require athletes to advance through a series of difficult obstacles, requiring incredible strength, balance, concentration, and endurance to navigate. Following years of training and practice, Christian Youst ’23 appeared in front of an audience of millions on the May 31 episode of American Ninja Warrior on NBC.
“I started getting interested in the obstacle courses around eight years ago when I watched American Ninja Warrior with my family for the first time,” said Christian. “I got inspired to go to a Ninja Warrior gym near my house to see what training for the show was like, and I really enjoyed it. Over time, training became a bigger and bigger part of my life, and now it is the main sport that I do.”'
Long before he made it to the hit TV show, Christian started competing at the local level. He quickly excelled, winning the Texas State Championship (Texas Ninja League) two years in a row, the National Championship (State Games of America) in 2020, and the World Ninja Challenge Championship (Ultimate Ninja Athlete Association) in 2021. He appeared as a contestant on the first season of American Ninja Warrior Junior, where he placed seventeenth after finishing two-tenths of a second behind his opponent in the 13–14-year-old seed round. Later, producers for the flagship American Ninja Warrior program invited him to compete in that show’s thirteenth season.
In addition to training at his local gym, Christian received help from Strength & Conditioning Coach Kevin Dilworth. “Coach Dilworth has been so supportive of my training and preparation for all my competitions. He has helped me balance out my time between school and training, which has been a struggle for me since the very beginning.”
On the May 31 qualifier episode of American Ninja Warrior, Christian slipped while jumping between the “V-formation bars,” but he finished with a time that ensured he would move on to the next round. As he launched through the course, one of the announcers commented, “This kid barely has his driver’s license, and he’s clearly exceeding the speed limit!”
“Since the season is ongoing, all I can say is that I qualified for the semifinals round,” said Christian. “But I am already prepping for season fourteen and hoping to win the million-dollar grand prize.”