The most challenging of qualification paths for fencing is the Cadet/Junior path. It’s incredibly confusing.
Even those of us who have an intimate understanding of these two paths can find the whole thing a bit overwhelming. I know I’ve written about the qualifications extensively in the past, and apparently it was confusing for me as well.
Why are the Cadet and Junior qualifying paths so confusing?
Our next task is to figure out why these two qualifying paths are so doggone confounding. What is it about these that makes them more of a challenge to figure out than say, Y10 vs. Y12?
There are many reasons for the difficulty, and here are some to name a few:
1. Constant rules changes
The USFA constantly making changes in the rules, oftentimes on a yearly basis
2. Different cycle
The Cadet/Junior cycle is different from other paths, it runs from JO to JO
3. Aging out
Because of the JO to JO schedule, Cadets & Juniors can age in or out of their groups in the middle of the season
4. JO’s vs. July Challenge
Qualification for JO’s and July Challenge is different – both in cycle and in the number of required regional points.
5. Regional points are different
Cadet/Junior regional points do not behave like other age categories regional points – a surprise for many people!
6. Changes from Youth paths
The other big issue here is that many families become familiar with the way that things are done in the youth divisions. Some of the trouble is simply due to adjustment from something familiar!
Due to all of this, the most common question that I get from our fencers, and recently from some fencing moms from another club who asked me about the issue at the Foil Grand Prix in Long Beach just 2 weeks ago, is what the right way is to understand regional points.
Clarifying the rules on Juniors & Cadets from the USFA
To be absolutely clear about cadet/junior regional points, we asked the USFA to clarify the situation. Here’s what they told us:
Regional JR/CDT points do not reset after JOs. However, fencers that are no longer are age eligible for JR/CDT after JOs are removed from the regional points list.
RJCC points are set up to mimic National Points in the sense, as long as the fencer is still age eligible, they are good for 1 year from when they are earned before they fall off.
What does that all mean for Cadet/Junior fencers?
Often the easiest way to understand a complex issue like this is to go through an example. That allows you to see exactly what’s going on in real time and to then figure out how it applies to your own situation.
Assume your fencer is age eligible in both last and this season for the same category (either cadet or junior).
For the July Challenge:
Any RJCC points earned THIS season 2016-2017 will persevere until July Challenge this year.
So if your fencer participated in an RJCC last September, his/her points will not be wiped out after the JO’s and will be counted towards July Challenge qualification. However, let’s say that your fencer participated in an RJCC in April 2016. If you check the points now you will see them, but per the rule they would be reset after April 2016. So if your total including these points today looks sufficient to qualify for the July Challenge, I recommend you see what happens with your qualification assuming these points do not exist. That’s the best way to ensure that you get an accurate understanding of where you stand in terms of qualification.
For the Junior Olympics
JO’s (Junior Olympics) are a bit trickier.
The points for 2018 JO qualification counted around January 10. That means that all points that were earned from January 11, 2017 till January 10, 2018 will not yet expire and thus will participate in the formula.
Improvement on USFA Site for Regional Points
WIth the latest transition to the new platform, the USFA has made some significant improvements in the point tracking system. These will actually SIMPLIFY your situation and it is a very welcome and useful addition!
You can find the Regional Points here: https://member.usfencing.org/search/regionalPointsList
Two major things to note in Regional Points for Juniors/Cadets:
You can choose either the current season (2016-2017) or the next one (2017-2018). If you want to track qualification for this summer’s July Challenge, then chose the current season. However, for next year’s JO’s, choose the new season 2017-2018
2. Age/Division category filter
Here comes a great addition – they made all the necessary work and explicitly provided different filters for Cadet/Junior qualifications for July Challenge or JO’s. Moreover, if your fencer ages out from a specific category, they will not be found there!
With all that clear now and with this great improvement on USFA site in how to track Regional Points qualifications, all that is left is do is to check where you stand. Whatever points you have for this year’s July Challenge (with the exception of the latest competition points which might not yet been included) – these points are going to be used to determine your qualification. If you have at least 65 regional points – you are good to go.
However, if you see that you are few points short of the target, I recommend to check and see if there are some RJCC’s to be held in your region before the nationals.
Good luck and see you this July in Salt Lake City at the 2017 Fencing Summer Nationals!