The next two weeks are the last to be qualified for summer nationals in some categories via a regional tournament or divisional qualifier. In other words, this is your last chance to evaluate your current standings including how many regional points your child has, which events you need to register for, and if there’s a chance for you to improve your standing by attending another event.
Parents, it’s important that you make a careful plan for the next steps of attending Summer Nationals, as time will quickly run out if your fencer still wants to qualify.
How Regional Points Are Calculated
As we’ve shared many times it is very easy to understand where you stand in terms of qualification via a regional path. Here’s one of the most recent posts about this:
If your child has sufficient regional points to qualify to their desired event at nationals, which you can find by their name on the USFA regional point standing page, then everything is great and you can safely prepare your travel plans.
But what if you did not have enough points and just attended the regional tournament? How many points do you have? Are they enough? Can you safely assume that you are qualified?
The answer is yes in most cases, but pay attention as some risks exist. In this post I am going to address some of the things that you need to understand before you make a decision whether you qualified and can book the trip to Nationals or, if you need to attend another qualifier.
The formula to calculate points earned in the regional competition, such as RYC for youth categories or RJCC for cadet and juniors, is very easy: the first place gets 100 points and every other place get points proportionally to their position. In other words, suppose we have 30 fencers in an event. The first place will get 100 points, the second place will get 96.67 points, the third place will get 93.34 points and so forth until the last 30th place will get 3.33 point.
A simple formula for this calculation is if there were N competitors in the event, the K’th place will get 100-(K-1)*(100/N) points.
So theoretically you should know immediately after the event conclusion how many regional points you earned and based on that see whether it is sufficient to qualify for that event.
Unfortunately, there are cases when you need to pay a bit more attention especially given the short time between the final qualification and the end of regular fee registration deadline for the nationals.
In theory (and by the book), to know exactly where you stand, you’ll have to wait until the USFA posts the official rankings on their website. You cannot assume 100% that all the points that you have earned have gone through the necessary channels to be recorded and thus impact the official regional ranking.
In a very rare case, for example, it’s possible that a USFA-sanctioned event that your child participated in did not fully comply with the strict requirements of who can compete. There are many requirements for a competition to be sanctioned and valid. For example, the competitors should meet all the required criteria for this specific event. If this is a Y12 competition, Y14 fencers cannot participate. The same is true for Y10 fencer fencing in Y14 event, who is not yet age-eligible, and does not have any Y12 national points.
If the organizers missed this during registration, the USFA might not sanction this event. In most cases, the USFA will try to resolve the issue with the organizers.
An example of such resolution attempt might be that some non-competitive fencers competed without organizers paying attention. In this case, they will be asked to upgrade their membership to competitive. In most cases, people will do this. In the event of a successful resolution of the issue the USFA has flagged, they will sanction the event. But it might take time, sometimes weeks, and sometimes you need to make a decision before any compliance issues are resolved.
The USFA is paying very close attention to make sure that competitions comply with strict requirements for age, gender, rating, citizenship, and membership status (competitive vs. non-competitive) as well as some other organizational requirements
It is possible that some issues cannot be fixed. While the USFA and organizers try to resolve the problematic problems, time passes, and fencers must wait for a resolution. It is not unusual for an issue to take three-four weeks to be evaluated and update the fencer records.
What To Do If Standings Aren’t In Yet
If a reasonable amount of time has passed and you still don’t have an updated standing, or if you are merely waiting to figure out your next steps (to attend another qualifying event?); It’s important for you to review all of your regional competitions, and calculate your best guess scenario.
Your first step is to call the organizers of any event in question. If everything is in order, a simple backlog at the national office could be the reason for the delay.
If the organizers did run into some issues, in most cases they will be able to give you a good sense of where things are with this and when a resolution should be expected. Fortunately, some organizers are incredibly experienced and always check and double check everything. These organizers rarely have any issues. With a proven track record the chances are slim that you will have any problems.
Do You Need to Attend Another Competition?
Depending on your child’s current standing and which events your child will qualify for, it’s possible you’re all set to register for summer nationals. However, if there’s a chance that your child hasn’t achieved the necessary amount of points, you may need to to make additional plans.
If based on your calculation of your last event, even without them officially updated, you may see that you qualified for nationals. In this case I recommend that families plan to attend this event at nationals and register for it on usafencing.org. However, I suggest to book fully refundable travel plans just in case you need to cancel. This may cost a bit more, but it is sometimes worth the risk.
If you decide that you may not be eligible for nationals based on your current standings, then you may need to attend another regional competition. This may involve traveling to another state within your region. As an alternative, you may be able to achieve the necessary qualification by attending the divisional qualifier particularly for Y14.
If you must travel, much like my recommendation above, book accommodations and travel arrangements that you can cancel in the event your results aren’t updated to satisfactory standing.
In most cases, it is safe to assume that the results you’ve calculated will be correctly reflected and you can take a risk based on your status, either to attend or not to attend the next qualifying competition. The same goes for choosing to register and to book travel to summer nationals.
Make sure you thoroughly review the cancellation policy for the competition. In many cases, you will be able to get a refund (at least partial) just in case you do end up not going. As always, talk to your coach about the prospects and following steps.
Summer Nationals is a very exciting event for young fencers. Using a little proactivity in your planning now will help you to relax and prepare for the competition at hand.