April 16, 2014 Updated: April 16, 2014 at 8:15 pm
Born in Virginia but raised in Colorado, Brendan Anderson felt the pull to return to his East Coast roots following his pending graduation from Cheyenne Mountain next month.
Luckily, Boston College was just what this athlete was looking for.
Just not what most 17-year-olds are looking for, though.
"People ask why I chose Boston College," Anderson said. "It has the whole package. I'm an East Coast kid, and they had the fencing program I wanted."
While Boston College might conjure memories of Doug Flutie, perhaps Palmer graduate Reggie Jackson and a consistent winner from its hockey team, fencers compete on a much smaller stage, without much fanfare.
But if Anderson has his way, he'll someday find himself on the world's brightest stage as a member of the U.S. modern pentathlon team at one, or both, of the next two Olympic Summer Games.
"Pentathlon athletes usually develop later in life, so I have a long way to go," said Anderson, one of 18 Cheyenne Mountain seniors to sign national letters of intent Wednesday afternoon. "I want to give it a run while I'm young and see where it takes me."
Anderson considers fencing his strongest event, but in modern pentathlon, an athlete must excel in four other disciplines - swimming, riding (equestrian), running, and combined long-distance running and shooting.
As a sophomore in the pool, Anderson helped set the school record in the 200-medley relay and eventually qualified for the state meet three times. In the meantime, he claimed two pentathlon youth championships sandwiched around a junior national championship.
Just last month, Anderson won the men's qualifier for the Youth Olympic Games held in Colorado Springs, where he is a resident at the Olympic Training Center, around his schoolwork at Cheyenne Mountain.
"I train early in the morning, come to school, then train after until way late," Anderson said. "In pentathlon, you've got to put in the hours for training."
His success in one of the modern Olympics' oldest sports - it goes back to 1912 - seems miles away from his innocent sojourn into fencing.
"I got into pentathlon by accident, through fencing," Anderson said. "There was a fencing program at the Training Center way back, and they were trying to revive it, and my mom got both my older brother (Ryan) and me involved. I ended up going to a pentathlon camp in Denver. I guess the rest is history. I just stuck with it."