En garde

EDH girl among top youth fencers in the country
By: Matt Long
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Lindsee Rotz is a typical bubbly, energetic 16-year-old girl. What sets her apart is the sport in which she plays. Rotz, a junior at St. Francis High, who lives in El Dorado Hills, doesn’t star on the school’s soccer team and isn’t the leading scorer on the basketball team. Rotz began fencing four years ago and is now ranked tenth in the United States in the 16-and-under age group and is one of only 12 members of the U.S. 16-and-under Cadet Fencing Team. In the last seven months, Rotz has traveled to World Cup competitions in Poland and Hungary and has done quite well in both. Competing against 200 athletes in each competition, Rotz placed 52nd in Poland and 70th in Hungary in the women’s saber class. “I was pleased with how I did, especially in Poland since it was my first World Cup competition,” Rotz said. “I was really excited because I didn’t think I would do well.” The competitions were the first that Rotz participated in outside of the United States. Her previous biggest competitions were the U.S. Junior Olympics, where she placed 15th last year in the 19-and-under division and 16th this year. The World Cup competitions, however, were much larger and featured fencers from all over the world. “It was so cool,” Rotz said in typical teenager speak. “I don’t mean it was cool just to hang out in Poland and Budapest, but even to hear all the different languages was neat. Even though I couldn’t understand them, it was neat to meet other people.” Rotz got her start in the sport when a friend in middle school in Portland, OR, where she lived before moving to El Dorado Hills less than two years ago, asked her to try it. She tried and it began liking it and joined a club coached by Ed Korfanty, who is currently the U.S. National Women’s saber coach. When she moved to El Dorado Hills, she joined the Hristov-Csikany Fencing Club in Carmichael. Her coach, Kristiyan Hristov, said Rotz’ work ethic is the key to her success. “It takes a lot of hard work to be good at fencing,” Hristov said. “It’s a complex sport and it requires a lot of repetition and hard work and Lindsee works hard at it.” Athletes don’t work hard to improve unless they love what they’re doing and it’s clear that Rotz loves fencing. “I think fencing is really cool because barely anyone does it,” Rotz said. “It’s a good conversation starter when I tell people that I fence. It’s a good workout and you have to be athletic to do it. It’s also a mental sport too. I just find it fun.” Rotz trains four to five times a week for two hours a session and also has three private 30-minute lessons a week. Practices feature lots of leg and footwork exercises, including jumping, sprinting, lunges and jump roping. She puts the time in because she’s got a goal in mind. “I really want to fence in college,” Rotz said, “and hopefully fencing can get me into a college. From there, if I excel, maybe the Olympics are a possibility.”