CASSTOWN — The 2016 Olympic Summer Games may have begun, but Lorenza Savini will be significantly more interested in 10 days.
That’s when the Miami East High School senior’s event begins and the next time the Summer Games are held, she plans on being there.
Savini competes in the modern pentathlon — a five-part event that involves running, swimming, horseback riding, fencing and shooting — and she’s already made waves, earning herself a place on the Team U.S.A.’s youth championship team. Not only is she a national champion in the United States Pony Club tetrathlon, this past summer she traveled to Limerick, Ireland to compete in the UIPM Youth A World Championships for Team U.S.A.
And it all came from the most innocent of beginnings.
“I just love everything about horses,” Savini said with a laugh.
Savini and her horse, George of the Jungle, are members of both the Stillwater Pony Club and United States Pony Club. In 2013, she qualified for the USPC’s national championships in the tetrathlon — an event like the pentathlon, but without the fencing. She qualified again in 2014, and then in 2015 she won the overall championship.
In 2014, though, all of the tetrathlon competitors got a special invitation.
“I got to nationals in 2013 and 2014 and won it last year, and in 2014 we were all invited to the Olympic Training Center (in Colorado Springs) for a camp for modern pentathlon. So I went that November, and ever since then, I’ve been hooked.”
The invitation came from U.S. Pentathlon Youth Team Manager Leslie Guzman, and Savini was able to train with current members of the U.S. modern pentathlon team like Margaux Isaksen and Nathan Schrimsher.
“It was really awesome being there with the Olympians,” Savini said. “They were all really friendly, and it was just neat being there with them.”
The transition from tetrathlon to pentathlon wasn’t a difficult one for Savini, but she is still learning a number of the disciplines. Horse show jumping is where she got her start, and she is a varsity cross-country runner — and state qualifier last season — at Miami East, where she is preparing to enter her senior year.
Miami East only recently formed a varsity swimming team, though, of which Savini is also a member. The shooting — which is now done with a laser pistol — and fencing portions presented a new challenge.
“Fencing was brand-new for me,” Savini said. “It’s been a lot of fun to learn. The swimming, I kind of knew how to already, but that was all on my own. At the Olympic Training Center, Dr. G (Genadijus Soklovas) has reconstructed my stroke a few times now. I’ve always been a runner, so that was probably the easiest part. And the shooting, well, it’s interesting. A lot of practice. It comes and goes.”
This summer, though, Savini got her biggest opportunity yet. In July, she competed in the UIPM Youth A World Championships in Limerick, Ireland, where Team U.S.A. placed 13th.
Savini competed alongside teammates Rachel Coleman, Naomi Ross and Maren York, and she scored 811 of Team U.S.A.’s 2,367 points, placing 25th in the “qualifying B” bracket. Her best performance came in the combined event, where she finished 14th with a time of 13:58.19. Savini was also 27th in fencing with seven victories and 29th in swimming with a time of 2:45.89.
Coleman was 28th in “qualifying B,” and in “qualifying A,” Ross was 25th and York was 29th.
“When I got to Worlds, it was neat — because I wasn’t the fastest runner,” Savini said. “It really pushed me to go harder, to realize that I need to train harder.
“I wasn’t really scared (to leave the country). It was really fun to get to go. It was neat because everyone on the team has different strengths. I’m the runner, others are good swimmers — it’s cool to see everyone be confident in their events. The competition at Worlds is just on another level. Everyone is so good, and it’s exciting to be part of that.”
As a result of her performance in Ireland, Savini earned an invitation to compete for Team U.S.A. in the Junior World Championships in Cairo, Egypt in September — an offer which she had to decline, since school would be in session and cross-country season would be hitting its stride.
In addition to the Stillwater and U.S. Pony Clubs and her various athletic teams, Savini is also a member of 4-H.
“I do have a little free time,” she said with a laugh. “Time management can sometimes be difficult for me.”
And while in the immediate future, Savini will watch the Olympics, she plans on continuing to work — and possibly giving everyone else something to watch the next time the Summer Games come around.
“I’d like to continue training, and next year my goal is to go to the Junior Worlds and eventually get to the finals in that competition,” Savini said. “I’ll be working a lot on fencing and swimming especially. And eventually, I want to compete in the Olympics, either in 2020 or 2024.”
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.