Day 7- Mixed Relay
Team USA started the mixed relay event with plans to position themselves as contenders after the swimming and fencing events. America’s two most versatile Junior athletes, Victoria Ahaus (20 y.o.) and Merik Pohl (17 y.o.) represented Team USA. Indeed, these two built on the experience gained from the individual events and showed they were a pair not to be taken lightly.
Victoria and Merik both swam competitive races within their heat. Victoria led the heat at the exchange then Merik’s split for the second 100 meters may have been his fastest ever. Team USA finished with a time of 2:01.25 which provided a competitive score of 285 pentathlon points after the first event.
Victoria was a force to be reckoned with in the fencing event and Merik held his own as team USA continued to surprise other countries. Ms Ahaus had a steller result scoring 15 victories in her 20 bouts. Merik must have left an impression in the minds of the Junior men after the individual event. Many changed their tactics against him which limited his success compared to his result from days earlier. However, he had victories during key moments in the seating round and success several times in the bonus round helping Team USA finish the fencing event in 7th place out of 21 teams and 5th place in the overall standings.
The equestrian riding at these Junior Worlds was the event which caused the most anxiety among the parents. While we had confidence, Merik is still inexperienced in equestrian competition and though Victoria is an experienced rider, the horses in the field were all strong and spirited in nature. In the end, all the stress was alleviated when both riders had little problem handling their horses during the warm-up and competition. Both Victoria and Merik had one fence down each and an 11 second time penalty. Team USA finished with an event score of 275 pentathlon points. Few teams had clear rounds. Team USA emerged from the event in 9th place overall but many scores were closely bunched after the riding event.
By the end of the mixed relay laser run event, Team USA, in their first international competition, had demonstrated their relevance and potential to the rest of the international Pentathlon community. Both Victoria Ahaus and Merik Pohl represented the United States of America to the best of their ability, on the world stage, against extremely well trained athletes from across the globe. Modern Pentathletes are considered by some to be the most versatile athletes in the world. At the end of a sweltering Egyptian day, after three previous events in the exhausting heat, the performance of America’s two best Junior Pentathletes demonstrated they are among the most exceptional on Earth.