AFM is Number 1 in SYCThis week we received the most wonderful news about AFM – we’ve been ranked #1 among all USA fencing clubs in the Super Youth Circuits, based on the results tracked by National Fencing Club Rankings (NFCR)!

Sometimes all of the hard work and diligence takes you to places that you never expected to go, even though you dreamed of them. That’s exactly what’s happened for those of us here at AFM, who are humbled and proud to have taken the top spot as the number one fencing club in the United States in terms of total medals at Super Youth Circuits (SYC).

Some surprising numbers

We knew that our fencers were making us proud as they worked through the 2016-2017 competition season, but still when we read the article, we were quite frankly stunned at what we saw.

Last weekend saw the last Super Youth Circuit of the season (SYC#16).

To give you some more insight into what these rankings mean, how about these numbers:

  • 357 fencing clubs participated in 16 SYCs
  • Over 3,200 fencers across North America competed
  • There were 16 SYCs in the 2016-2017 season
  • SYCs took place in 11 states from coast to coast
  • 9,700 fencing events took place as part of this ranking
  • The rankings come from the total medals won by the Top 8 fencers at the SYCs

SYCs were created to give youth fencers the chance to compete on an elite level, challenging their skills to help them grow and be better fencers and better people.

The clubs that compete on the SYC are nothing short of fantastic. We are deeply humbled to be listed alongside these talented fencers, no matter what place we found ourselves on the list. Fencing is a sport that’s fueled by the talent and hard work of so many people. As a young club, we’ve learned a great deal from watching other clubs, and we are so thankful to our competitors for being the ultimate teachers!

There are a lot of great clubs in the USA that inspire us by their hard work and their fencers achievements. We are honored to be on the same list with them, and even more humbled to take the number one spot.

AFM’s numbers

Now for our own numbers. We’re so proud to find out that all of the hard work and dedication of our fencers paid off so generously!

AFM took the top spot with 11 Gold, 12 Silver, 12 Bronze, plus 37 other top 8 finishes! Our top 8 medal conversion rate was 35.5%, another number to be extremely proud of. Those medals came in two thirds from our epee fencers and one third from our foil fencers. We’re of course just busting with pride at all of our fencers! Our fencers attended 203 events throughout the fencing season, with 63 club members participating. Of those, 31 made the top 8 in at least one event.  Eighteen made the podium at least once. Those are numbers that we can stand up and be proud of!

When you consider that last year we were #18, our growth as a school this year is something to be marveled at. That’s growth that you can’t deny came directly from the diligence of our fencing community. This speaks volumes about how our fencers progressed and how much more confidence they gained. It’s also about new opportunities they discovered, such as qualifications, ranking, and ratings. Another driving force is the experience which otherwise would be very difficult and almost impossible to get were they only competing locally.

Our incredible fencers, their families, and our coaches made this happen

This feat is the culmination of the hard work and focus of our students and coaches. This isn’t something that we did – this is something that they did!

We’ve seen such marvelous strides in our students thanks to their work with their coaches and grow through competition. Each of these medals represents friendships forged, travels far from home, comraderies created with members of other clubs, and so much more. This isn’t just about the hardware – it’s so much more than that!

Our kids have traveled the country with the support of their parents and siblings. Those are experiences that can’t be matched. Travel is a wonderful teacher, so the fact that our students have had the opportunity to go to cities far and wide has allowed them to expand their horizons in so many ways. They’ve had the chance to interact with all kinds of people, including other fencers who challenged them and helped them to become better. There’s no doubt that visiting different clubs and learning from those experiences has been an incredible boost to both the personal development of these students and to their development as fencers.

We cannot overstate how much the parents of our students have made this possible. We heartily recognize the effort and sacrifice that our fencer’s families have put into this #1 ranking! Whether it’s been weekends out on the road, long days at the club, or financial sacrifices to get the right equipment, the families of our fencers have stepped up their game this year to allow our fencers to shine. And boy have they shined!

And of course, our fantastic team of coaches delivered it! We are grateful for their passion, knowledge, hard work and dedication!

Competition is worth it

The message that we get most of all from this ranking is that our fencers are seeing the benefits from competing. Year over year, we’ve seen more and more of our members going further and further afield to higher and higher levels of fencing competitions. It’s not just about staying local anymore, it’s about going out and testing skills against the best competitors that are available. Our fencers and their families have learned that the experience of these competitions is full of life skills and growth!

That’s why we compete. It’s not for the medals, it’s for the ability to expand our horizons. The medals are a wonderful bonus, and it’s a spectacular honor for us to get to the top of the leader-board. Most of all it’s an honor for our students, parents, and coaches deserve every bit of that recognition.