Setting up the final qualifier requires recapping Qualifier 1 held December 15 and 16, in Colorado Springs, CO.. In the Women’s division, US Army’s Sammy Achterberg of Colorado Springs, CO., won the Laser Run by 53 seconds winning the overall competition by a full minute scoring a total of 1366 points over Air Force Lieutenant and 2010 Youth Olympic Games veteran, Anna Olesinski with 1306 points also of Colorado Springs. Newcomer Avery Niemann of Denver, CO., finished third with 1284 points and New York’s Jessica Davis finished fourth scoring a total 1266 points in the five disciplines.
The women’s event was hotly contested with Denver’s Naomi Ross taking an early lead in the fencing event winning 33 of 42 matches and Avery Niemann winning 31. In the 200-meter freestyle, Niemann literally swam away from the field in 1:54.97. But it was the Laser Run where Achterberg made her move, going a perfect 20 hits in 20 shots (4 laser shooting series of 5 targets each—20 targets total) and blazing the 4x800 meters, winning the Laser-Run discipline and the overall title. Olesinski, Niemann, Davis followed with Naomi Ross holding off a hard-charging Lorenza Savini finishing 6 seconds in front of the challenger.
Also turning in outstanding performances were youngsters, Maggie Mann, Allyson Fernandez, Ingrid Mayer, Jenna Kelly, LuLu McCutchen and Tori Orcutt. These athletes have bright futures in from of them.
This sets up an exciting final Qualifier in just 3 weeks where Achterberg, Olesinski, Niemann, Davis, Ross and Savini will face 2016 Olympian, Isabella Isaksen (who withdrew from Qualifier 1 due to injury) in the National qualifying event.
In the Men’s division, Colorado Springs native, 3-time Olympian and World Championships silver medalist, Amro El Geziry representing the US Army won all five disciplines of the Pentathlon besting Brendan Anderson also of Colorado Springs by 36 points. Finishing third was Durango, CO., native and Colorado School of Mines student, Seamus Millet finishing only 4 seconds behind El Geziry in the Laser-Run and securing third place overall.
Rounding out the top six were Tyler Evans of Ithaca, NY with strong run/swim results in 4th, Sam Ruddock of Cleveland, Ohio 5th, with solid performances across the board and Orlando Florida’s Alex Guzman in 6th, winning the show-jumping event and turning in strong skill-sport results.
Outstanding performances were turned in by youngsters Myles Matteson, Luke Holman, Isaac Neivert, Caleb Allen and Henry Shugert.
The Modern Pentathlon is one of the oldest Olympic events, created by Baron Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics as the test of the “complete” athlete. Athletes compete in 5 disciplines required by a messenger in time of war. Riding an unfamiliar horse over a showjumping course, fencing, swimming and shooting and running in the exciting final, “Laser-Run” where each athlete runs 4x800 meters stopping after each series to hit a target 4 times.