After watching the 2008 Olympics, 9-year-old Katie Santamaria of Carrollwood began fencing lessons at the Tampa Fencing Academy with owner Boyko Krastevitch, a former national Bulgarian champion.
She trained hard and began competing at a national level. By age 12, she was ranked #3 in the country for 12-year-old epee girls and achieved an "E" rating.
Now 14, Santamaria continues to compete nationally as well as at statewide tournaments with mostly college men.
After qualifying to fence in the Junior Olympic Fencing Championship, Santamaria joined more than 1,500 top-ranked teenage fencers in Baltimore Feb. 15-18.
The athletes competed at this national tournament in men's and women's events in three different weapons (foil, epee and sabre) and two age groups (Cadet [under 17] and Junior [under 20]).
The 14-year-old finished 21 out of 173 in Cadet Women's Epee. This accomplishment earned her National Points and a C2013 rating. She now ranks 19th in the country for Y14 Women's Epee fencers.
She is the daughter of Kimberly and John Santamaria.