En Garde: Fencer Lark Izenson Competes on a National Level


Photo by Alexis Anglade

Senior Lark Izenson at a fencing competition in Germany.

When asked if they play a sport, most people will say something like soccer or basketball. However, there are more people than you think that would say fencing. The sport of fencing is not widely understood. It is imagined as people swinging swords wildly at an opponent, hoping to get a hit. Fencing is actually much more than that. It combines discipline with physical and mental skill.

Not many know that North Atlanta High School is where the 15th ranked fencer in the nation attends school. Sophomore Lark Izenson has been fencing since second grade. She went to a fencing camp in Atlanta when she was just eight and she immediately fell in love with the sport. “It seemed so unique and it combined physical activity with mental strategy,” she said. “I tried it one time and I was hooked.”

During the past eight years, she has accomplished a lot and has maneuvered her way into the 15th place in the country in her under-16 competition category.

Izenson has kept with fencing for so long because of the opportunities it presents. Because it is a smaller sport, fencers often have to travel long distances in order to compete. The size of the sport also means that it is easier to connect with other fencers. “I like the competitiveness of it,” she said. “I like travelling everywhere, and I like that it gives me an opportunity to meet new people.”

She gets to travel to places that she has never been and has the opportunity to compete against people she would have never known. Last year, she left the country three times to compete in Poland, Germany and Hungary. “Germany was my favorite place to visit,” she said. “I went during December and they had a bunch of Christmas markets. It was cool to see how a different culture celebrates Christmas.”

Izenson’s recent competitions took her to Cleveland, Ohio, on February 12 for a Junior Olympic Championships fencing competition where nearly 150 fencing athletes competed. During the competition she took third place in her under-18 age division. “I was happily surprised by how well I did,” she said.

She explained that she was competing in the age division above her normal competition category.

Izenson is part of a current exploratory effort to see whether there might be room for a fencing team at North Atlanta. She’s had some discussions with Athletic Director Andre Regan and it’s hoped that before long the Warriors can add a dynamic new sports team to an already full competition roster. “It’s a great sport so I’d love it if there were more people in the building who could enjoy it,” Izenson said.