University of Wisconsin trio to compete on 'Team Ninja Warrior: College Madness'

Posted at 6:51 PM, Nov 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-21 20:16:14-05

To be a ninja warrior, you have to get creative.

Badgers Zack Kemmerer, Andrew Philibeck and Taylor Amann were up for the challenge.

“They're both climbers,” Amann described of her teammates. “Andrew especially he climbs everything any tree that he sees.”

Now we get to see them on this season's Team Ninja Warrior: College Madness. Sixteen schools will square off, and first up, it's Wisconsin against Maryland. We won't know the results until the episode airs November 22 on the Esquire Network.

“My friends keep asking me they're like, ‘You can tell me. I won't tell anyone.’ But I can't tell anyone,” Amann said with a smile. “It's building up I wish I could tell people.”

But what they can say:

“You'll get to see three really talented, really interesting people go out there and represent the best of what Wisconsin is,” Kemmerer explained of the experience.

But beyond the bars, there was more to learn. What's the dynamic like of this team? How do they describe themselves?

“Dysfunctional, totally dysfunctional,” Kemmerer, a PhD student, said with a laugh.

“Fun, we have a really fun dynamic,” Amann said. “Yeah, we get along great, too.”

“I play a fatherly role,” Kemmerer said.

“Zack would be the father figure,” Philibeck agreed with a laugh. “He cracks me up. He's so funny.”

“Taylor is entertaining,” Kemmerer said describing his teammates. “She's kind of bubbly. She's got the bubbly personality. Andrew's a little neurotic at times.”

“Taylor and I are like his little kids and we're always goofing around and he's always got to tell us what to do,” Philibeck agreed. “But I think together we mesh well. Zack shows us the ropes.”

The former college wrestler competed on this past season's ‘America Ninja Warrior.’

“There were 120 people that ran and I finished 15th overall,” he said of his experience on the show. “I finished the course, so I got to hit my first buzzer. It was super exciting, such an adrenaline rush.”

Taylor is an Arrowhead grad who now pole vaults at Wisconsin. She placed 21st at nationals.

“It just gives us a lot of confidence knowing that our girl is the most athletic one there,” Philibeck said. “That's how we feel. We just know Taylor's amazing.”

And Philibeck is a former wrestler from Freedom, Wisconsin. Together they're competitors who have a unique opportunity to do something special.

“Being at a school like this that really emphasizes the athletic environment, the basketball team, the football team, the hockey team, volleyball, wrestling, it's really cool to be in that environment,” Kemmerer described. “And to be able to represent a school like that, it's great.”

Now they can add ninja warrior to that list. As Kemmerer said:

“We're trying to put ninja on the map for Wisconsin.”