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LI teen competes in 'American Ninja Warrior Junior' finals

Jack David, of Huntington, a finalist on "American

Jack David, of Huntington, a finalist on "American Ninja Warrior Junior." Credit: Universal Kids / Eddy Chen

A Huntington teenager has made it to the finals on "American Ninja Warrior Junior" season 2, airing Friday at 6 p.m. on Universal Kids (Optimum Ch. 130; FiOS Ch. 263). Jack David, who has turned 13 since spending four days shooting the obstacle-course competition in Los Angeles last summer, says the physical challenge was less stressful that simply applying to be on the show — which this season winnowed down more than 140 9- to 14-year-olds in three age categories.

"It was a long application process," he says of working on his submission "about a year and a half ago. … I had to send in a video of me talking, and it was very stressful because I've never really been interviewed or anything like that in front of a camera before. So it took quite a few tries. The scariest thing is that once you say something, you can't take it back, and it might be on TV."

The producers, he says, "want to hear something interesting about you. I told them I was a junior black belt" in the Korean martial art tae kwon do, "and that I won athlete-of-the-year in fifth grade — things like that."

The son of J.P. David, a Melville-based regional sales coordinator for the insurance company Aflac, and Reina David, a speech therapist with Nassau BOCES, Jack David attends Stimson Middle School in Huntington Station. He has an older sister, Emma, 16, who is an advanced competitive gymnast. Born in Queens, David moved to Long Island as an infant.

By coincidence, one of his classmates at Obstacle Athletics in Deer Park, where Jack David trains, is David Futeran, who competed in season 1 of the show — as did Jack David's 15-year-old cousin, Kody Hazan, who suggested that Jack David apply for the show and gave him advice and support.

"They live in Connecticut," J.P. David, 50 — who was born in Brooklyn but raised, like his wife, in East Northport — says of Hazan's family. "We see them a lot. We're pretty close with them. When they were younger, Kody had a ninja course in his backyard and Jack loved to go up there and play on it. So it prompted me to build one in our backyard. We've had it for a number of years, but he's outgrown it now."

Jack David says that when he was younger, it had been his dream to be on the flagship show "American Ninja Warrior." "The fact that I was able to get on the 'Junior' show, it was a lot to process," he says. But as much of a milestone as it was, he has different hopes for the future. "It's my dream," he says, "to play [NCAA] Division I basketball."

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