Krafian, Tcholakian win penthathlons

Sasoun Tcholakian and Anoush Krafian (Photo: Sona Gevorkian)

The pentathlon events were won by a woman who has never lost an event in six AYF Olympics and a former college football player who had not been to an Olympics since 2015. In the women’s competition, Greater Boston’s Anoush Krafian won all five events to score 3,036 points which was only one point less than the AYF record set by Boston’s Allison Aylaian in 1979. It is also noteworthy that Krafian’s times and distances were good enough to win four of the events (all except for the 800 meter run) in the open Olympics competition. Teny Topouzian from Detroit and Isabelle Suggs of the Middlesex West chapter, were second and third this year, both moving up one spot from their 2019 finishes. Ani Comella from Providence placed fourth.

Sasoun Tcholakian (Detroit) takes the men’s pentathlon (Photo: Sona Gevorkian)

Detroit’s Sasoun Tcholakian and Boston’s Alex Avakian were both novices in the pentathlon. Tcholakian had not been able to compete in any Olympics since 2015 because he had been playing wide receiver for Ohio Wesleyan until he graduated in 2020. Avakian came in as the AYF record holder in the discus and the dominant thrower during the past six years. In the end, Tcholakian’s consistent scoring in all five events won out with a total of 2,557 points, while Avakian gathered 2,339. George and Nerses Donoyan from Providence finished 3-4 to grab nine important points for the Varantians. Nerses Kupelian, the 2019 silver medalist from New Jersey, was injured during the competition and could not finish.  

Anoush Krafian (Greater Boston) straining to try to break the pentathlon record. (Photo: Sona Gevorkian)

The women’s competition started with the shot put on Sunday morning. Krafian threw over 35’ to establish an early lead of almost 200 points. At that time, the next three competitors were separated by only 55 points. Krafian’s lead grew to 472 points over Topouzian as she long jumped 16’11.5”. Comella had now moved into third place some 70 points ahead of Suggs. In the high jump, Krafian cleared 5’2.5”, but Suggs was close behind at 4’11” and was now only 60 points behind Topouzian for second. Krafian then covered the 200 meter dash in 27.25; Topouzian was second in 31.71 to essentially lock up second place. Going into the final 800 meter race, the point totals were updated, and Krafian knew she needed to run 2:53.33 to break the 1979 record. Running by herself the entire distance, she pushed hard down the final stretch but was short by less than 0.2 of a second. Krafian’s summer workouts had been dictated by her Dartmouth track coach and were directed toward strengthening, not improving speed. This is a common practice for most collegiate track athletes. For a measure of comparison, Krafian placed fifth in the heptathlon at the 2018 New Balance High School Nationals. Her performances during that event were: Shot Put – 30’8.5”, High Jump – 5’6”, Long Jump – 16’3.75”, 200 dash – 25.56 and 800 meter run – 2:31.13. Those performances would equate to a total of 3,384 points in the AYF pentathlon, over 300 more than her total this year. Krafian has also scored 3,539 points in an indoor pentathlon, but that includes a hurdles race instead of the 200 meter sprint.

The men began in the discus circle where Avakian threw 148’7”, which was close to his AYF record of 151’7” set in 2015. He beat Tcholakian by over 50 feet to build a lead of over 300 points. Avakian increased the lead to 469 points by throwing the shot almost 48’. But after that event, Tcholakian started to chip away at the huge margin. He won the long jump with a leap of 18’10” to cut the lead to 205 points. Tcholakian then took the 200 meter dash in 26.10 to gain another 134 points. Going into the final 1500 meter run, Avakian had a total of 2,188 points and Tcholakian had 2,117. Tcholakian had to run the distance about 18 seconds faster than Avakian to win the five-event competition, but it was not that close. He ran 5:21.94 to win that event by over a minute and the pentathlon by over 200 points. The Donoyan cousins George and Nerses finished well behind these two but still scored valuable points for Providence.  

Bob Tutunjian

Bob Tutunjian

Bob Tutunjian is president of Vivaproducts, a medical device company in Massachusetts. He has been actively involved with the AYF and the Olympics since 1967 and has written many articles covering this event.
Bob Tutunjian

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