After three years of committed training, Josh Spegman, a 2009 Pusch Ridge Christian Academy graduate, qualified for the United States Pentathlon team.
“It is a dream come true,” said Spegman.
Spegman is currently a junior attending Lewis and Clark University in Portland, Oreg., where he is majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology.
Spegman is heavily involved in a variety of school clubs and just finished his third season on the swim team. Apart from school, Spegman has been training for the U.S.A. Modern Pentathlon for several years.
“I first heard about it in high school,” said Spegman. “When I came here my swim coach talked to me about it. He knew that I could swim, horseback ride, and run so all I needed to learn were the other two (fencing and shooting).”
The U.S.A. Modern Pentathlon is an Olympic event that started in 1912 at the Fifth Olympiad. It includes five events: swimming, horseback riding, fencing, running, and shooting. Each athlete competes in all five events in one day. Points are determined by the time an athlete completes an event, and totaled at the end of the day for a final score.
“Even when I was young I loved watching the Olympics and for a while wanted to be an Olympian myself,” said Spegman. “I picked events that I liked and the pentathlon looked best.”
It was summer after his freshmen year that Spegman began training. He flew to Denver for three weeks of training in the sport of fencing and shooting. That summer, Spegman competed at the Olympic training center for the Summer Nationals Pentathlon.
It wasn’t until two months ago that Spegman competed in his second pentathlon, this time, in hopes of qualifying for the World Cup Team.
“I competed there this January and got enough to get me the 12th spot to make the team,” said Spegman.
The World Cup is a series of competitions where athletes from countries all over the world compete to qualify for the 2012 Summer Olympics. The top two men and women from the United States will go on.
“While I keep my hopes up for this year, my main focus is 2016,” said Spegman. “This will be a big eye opener and a good place to get good experience to become a better pentathlete.”
For Spegman, qualifying for the World Cup Series was anything but easy. Taking 17 credits, being involved in clubs, and practicing for five sports has kept his life very busy.
“It is a lot and that’s a daily struggle, but I found that if I manage my time well I can make room for everything,” said Spegman. “I have a whiteboard that I write everything on and that helps.”
Every week Spegman swims for two hours each day, and runs four of the other days. He also practices shooting and different fencing drills. Since there is no fencing club at Lewis and Clark, Spegman is coached by three-time Olympian Elaine Cheris, who works at the fencing club in Colorado.
“I send her a videotape of my fencing and she gives me feedback,” said Spegman. “When school has breaks I usually go back to Colorado to go over what drills to focus on.”
After months of hard training and commitment, Spegman finds himself on the World Cup team competing for the U.S.
“I do enjoy all the sports I’m involved in and having a big dream, but the journey is just as great,” said Spegman. “Being able to represent the U.S. at this competition; I never dreamed that this would come true. To compete for the United States is a big, big honor.”
On March 9, Spegman competed in the first qualifying round of the World Cup Series. .
“I am blessed to be able to compete,” said Spegman. “I am excited to see how far I go and where it will take me.”
After competition, Spegman finished 97th out of 100, but said the experience was valuable.