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Milford’s Dube battles at Ninja Worlds in Connecticut

MILFORD – As far as athletes

go, Mickayla Dube is not your

average, run-of-the-mill middle

school cheerleader.

The 13-year-old seventh-grader

at Milford Middle School has

another side, a dark, cryptic side

if you will.

Dube is an aspiring American

Ninja Warrior. And this weekend

she takes a huge step, traveling

to Connecticut to compete in the

first-ever National Ninja League

World Championships at the XL

Center in Hartford.

“I’m very excited. I went

through this last year, and it was

that big,” she said. “This time

it’s different. I’m so happy just

to make it this far. Not many

people have. I’m nervous, but I’ll

be fine.”

Inspired by the “American

Ninja Warrior” TV show, ninjastyle

obstacle course competition

is a phenomenon that is

sweeping the nation.

These courses represent the

ultimate in physical tests.

“These obstacles force you to

use every muscle in your body

to get through the course quickly,”

said Dube. “It’s so much

fun. You’re doing what you love,

always pushing yourself. Out

there, it’s me vs. the course.”

Dube trains three days a week

out of the USA Ninja Challenge

gym in Manchester, which hosts

classes in it.

She began in the sport about

two-and-a-half years ago and immediately

fell in love with it.

“I had always watched the

show on TV, and I was like I

want to do that,” she said.

Athletes from 6-to-17 are

involved in this junior competition.

She qualified for the

“Worlds” with a top three finish

in a regional event down in Ashland,

Mass., back in October.

Her friends in school hear,

“Ninja” and “World Championships”

and wonder what the

heck is going on with Dube,

who does her best to keep up

with cheerleading but is clearly

driven by this training.

“I do cheerleading, but Ninja

is my main focus. A lot of my

friends at school aren’t really

that knowledgeable about it,”

she said. “You don’t know about

it at first, but once you get into it,

it’s a whole new world.”

And yes, Dube is driven to be

a major player in this whole new

world, not just now in the junior

ranks but in the distant future.

She has her sights set high.

Really high.

“I would really like to get all

the way to the TV show,” said

Dube. “I’m going to stick with

it. Hopefully someday, I will be

the first woman ever to climb

‘Mount Midoriyama’.”

“Midoriyama” is the ultimate

test for athletes in the sport.

Only a select few have been

successful.

For now, though, Dube has a

different mountain to climb, that

is conquering middle school.

“I always keep my grades

up,” she said. “They’re very

important to me. I’ve been high

honor roll this year and all of

last year.”

The Ninja training and competitions

will certainly play its

role, too.

“It really does help me calm

down,” said Dube. “It’s a stress

reliever.”