Living by the sword

Local modern pentathlete places fourth in U.S. championships

Teslin Stecher practices fencing with a couple of dummies in his front yard. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Mancos Times

Teslin Stecher practices fencing with a couple of dummies in his front yard.

Fourteen-year-old Mancos resident Teslin Stecher is making a name for himself in the Olympic sport of pentathlon.

Competing in the Modern Pentathlon Youth National Championships in Colorado Springs on July 5-6, Stecher finished fourth in the division for 13- and 14-year-olds.

The eighth-grader became interested in modern pentathlon – which combines fencing, swimming, running, shooting and horse jumping – just over a year ago.

“I was swimming, running and fencing,” said Stecher. “I watched a national (modern pentathlon) competition and joined after that.”

To prepare for competition, Stecher practices seven times a week with the Durango Swim Club, runs with members of the Mancos High School cross-country team and practices shooting on his own.

Stecher is also a member of the Durango Fencing Club, where he spends about two hours per week practicing his skills with a sword.

Stecher also trains with his father, Marty Stecher, who is a member of the Durango Fencing Club.

“I like being on the defensive,” said Stecher. “I placed 10th overall in the fencing regardless of age group at the (Modern Pentathlon Youth National Championships).”

When not practicing for modern pentathlon competitions, Stecher downhill skis and surfs on the Animas River.

A home-schooled student who enjoys math, Stecher hopes to compete in the 2016 Junior Olympics, as well as other large national competitions.

Are the Olympics in his sights? Stecher remains unsure, but he indicated that testing his skills against the best modern pentathletes in the world would be a special experience.

Teslin Stecher parries with his dad, Marty, while demonstrating fencing abilities. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Mancos Times

Teslin Stecher parries with his dad, Marty, while demonstrating fencing abilities.