SPRINGFIELD, NJ — Later this week, Springfield resident and junior ninja warrior Kaela Gerson will make her long-awaited television debut.

As previously reported by TAPinto Springfield, Gerson will become the second Springfield resident to compete on the show, joining Kira Hoffer, who competed on last year's season. Kaela's episode will air this Friday at 6:00 p.m. on Universal Kids.

TAPinto Springfield spoke with Kaela and her father Dave Gerson about the anticipation for the show, their reactions as it gets ready to air, and the support of Springfield that they've felt since Kaela was announced as a competitor.

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For Kaela, who is contractually obligated to keep her run results a secret until the show airs, the task was hard at first, but because she is good at keeping secrets, she was able to hold it under wraps.

“It wasn’t that hard, because I’m pretty good at keeping a secret," she said." But in the beginning, it was really hard, and then I just tried to – because it was starting to come up, I was like, ‘okay, counting down the days.’ And then they switched it from a Saturday to a Friday, so I was like ‘okay, it’s one day closer now.’”

She also noted how amazing it as to be selected for a show like ninja warrior, considering the incredible cast of candidates that producers must sift through when putting together that season's participants.

“It really was amazing, and if you think about it, it’s a world-wide thing," Kaela said. "People from all over the place do the show. And me being picked, knowing that thousands of more people sent in their applications, and they [the producers] liked my personality, and they saw that I was strong enough and everything, it’s just a really amazing thought, to come this far in something that I really love to do.”

One of the other things Kaela touched on was the support from Springfield, which she said was something she was looking forward to.

“I am really excited, because Springfield is not the biggest place," Kaela said. "Everyone [in town] is close together, and we know a lot of people. Everyone’s super supportive of me, and everyone knows I’ve been on the show […] everybody’s excited, and we hope that everyone’s going to watch.”

She added, “It’s really cool to come from such a pretty small place to do something so big, and just represent my family and my city, and it’s going to be really fun.”

In between the filming and the air date, COVID-19 has since spread into a global pandemic, shutting down a lot of modern life. However, Kaela is still keeping busy, by constructing ninja obstacles with her family at their house, skateboarding and finishing up her schoolwork.

Kaela's father Dave also noted that because of the greater amount of time he spends home due to the pandemic, he has been able to help Kaela construct new obstacles at a much faster clip than he would have if normal life had not been interrupted.

As he gets ready to watch the show this Friday, Dave said his daughter's composure under the spotlight of ninja warrior was amazing.

“I’m still amazing proud of how she composed herself and how she acted and how she got along with all the kids and producers and adult ninjas out there, and that was really the greatest part of the whole trip,” he said.

He also noted that while he is excited for the episode to air, there will be some sadness when it is over.

“I’m kind of going to be sad when it’s passed, because I’ve had this cool thing to look forward to," Dave said. "But she still has a lot of fun stuff to do, and keeps training and doing other fun sport and projects, so I’m sure that it’ll continue past the show into other endeavors that we will be proud of as well.”

He also spoke about how good Springfield has been in terms of supporting Kaela, and that with people all home in front of their television sets, he hopes many more people than normal will make the switch over to Universal kids, where the show is airing, and throw some support behind Kaela during her runs.

“We have a really great town, and people are really supportive and excited for her, and they have been since the beginning, so I think it’s going to be even more fun that they get to see their town represented," Dave said. "Whether it’s because they have to stay home, because they love their town, I think people just respect and support each other here, and I think it’ll be a lot of fun to see it on the TV.”

To find out what channel Universal kids is on in your cable or satellite package, simply go to https://www.universalkids.com/, and click on the channel finder option in the top right corner after inputting the zip code.