Sam Sacksen (Somerset, Pa.) qualified for Sunday's men's final by placing first in semifinal Group A on Friday at Modern Pentathlon's World Cup #4 in Chengdu, China.
Sacksen got off to a slow start in the day's first event, the fencing competition, winning just four of his first 15 matches. But he quickly recovered to claim eight of his next 11 bouts to finish the fencing portion with a solid 784 points.
In the next event, the swim, Sacksen placed 13th with a time of 2:10.90, putting him in 17th place entering the last event, the combined run/shoot.
It was there that Sacksen shined, turing in the second-fastest time in his group (11:06.33) and vaulting up to first place with 4352 total points.
Also competing in Group A for the U.S. was Dennis Bowsher (Dallas, Texas). Bowsher recorded 12 victories in the fencing competition and had a solid 5th-place finish in the swim (2:05.46). But he faltered in the combined event with a time of 12:14.23, dropping to 19th place and did not qualify for Sunday's final.
In Group C action, Eli Bremer (Monument, Colo.) placed 21st and Nathan Schrimsher (Roswell, N.M.) was right behind him in 22nd position. Both athletes recorded nine victories in the fencing portion. Bremer was sixth in the swim (2:04.78) and clocked a time of 12:29.82 in the combined. Schrimsher was eighth-fastest in the pool (2:05.66) and turned in a time of 12:37.56 in the combined event.