Art of Fencing, Art of Life

Qualification Update: 2023 Fencing Summer Nationals

Qualification Update: 2023 Fencing Summer Nationals

We’re already in the thick of the 2022-23 fencing season, and that means it’s time to start thinking about those long-term goals surrounding Fencing Summer Nationals next year.

This year, there are more opportunities than ever to qualify for the tournament, and with all of these potential ways to compete, we want to be sure that everyone is well prepared for reaching their potential. 

Where competitions are held

There’s been a lot of discussion online about the way that the tournament season was structured, particularly in regards to the geographic distribution of the tournaments around the country. Where and when major tournaments take place can have a significant impact on who can attend, which then has far reaching ramifications for how qualification plays out for individuals. For many fencers, the placement of national tournaments this season means that they’ll have to rethink what they’d like to attend to qualify. 

We wrote an in-depth piece about this when it was announced over the summer, and you can get all of the details there. 

The placement of national tournaments could be a challenge for those fencers who are accustomed to qualifying in a certain way. They might be frustrated that travel expenses are difficult to overcome, thanks to where those national tournaments are now. Rather than looking at this as a hindrance, fencers can view this as an opportunity to travel more or to challenge themselves to go the divisional or regional level to get the all way to the top.

Now the big question is – how do fencers qualify for Fencing Summer Nationals? Here’s what you need to know.

Minimal changes

This year, qualifying for the national tournament is almost identical to the qualification paths we saw last year. The only tweaks are that there are no Division 2 or Division 1A NACs, which means that this road to SN is unavailable in those sections. 

Basically, we’re having a second year of the same qualification path following the somewhat chaotic year that it all happened during the pandemic. 

Though there are not significant changes this year, that doesn’t mean that fencers should take their qualification path for granted. Though the path itself might not have changed, if you are switching from one level to another, that is a significant change for your personal road to qualification. 

It is incredibly important that fencers thoroughly understand how to get to SN now, rather than waiting until later in the season. The more you know, the better you can plan to maximize your time and resources. There’s no reason for you to extend yourself so far in order to make it to SN! Just by researching the qualification paths, you’ll be able to feel more confident in fencing your best. 

All of the details below are pulled straight from the 2022-2023 USA Fencing Athlete Handbook

Qualification paths for Fencing Summer Nationals 2023

There are different qualification paths for each individual category. Depending on a fencer’s age eligibility, they can qualify in multiple categories. There are 93 events in total this year!

You’ll notice that there are both Fencing Summer Nationals and the July Challenge listed here. These competitions are run during the same ten-day long tournament and in the same venue. The only real difference between them is the name and which events are included. The July Challenge is comprised of Cadet, Junior, Division 1, Senior Team, and Veteran Team events. Fencing Summer Nationals is comprised of Y10, Y12, Y14, Division 1A, Division 2, Division 3, and individual Veteran events.  There are a wide range of Veteran events embedded into the competition, including Veteran 40-49, Veteran 50-59, Veteran 60-69, Veteran 70+, Veteran 80. While we tend to think of youth fencers as being the central competitors in Fencing Summer Nationals, as you can see there are a wide range of Veteran competitions that go all the way up to age 80 and beyond. There is a longevity in competitive fencing, even at this high level, that is both fueling and essentially growth driving. 

Though the fencing age requirements are fairly consistent across the board, they change for fencers who are eligible for the Junior Olympics. This is a nuance that’s worth checking with your coach about if you aren’t sure, though most fencers who are at that level have an idea of where they’re at.

The three overall ways that a fencer can qualify:

  • Earn National Points by going to NACs, Championships, SYCs, or SJCCs – these equate to ranking on the National Rolling Points Standings (NRPS)
  • Earn Regional Points at RYCs, RJCCs, or ROCs – these equate to ranking on the Regional Points Standings (RPS).
  • Finish in the top 25% of a Divisional Qualifier for Division 3, Division 2, or Y14

Look on the USA Fencing website to find out your specific status, which will help you to determine how far you have to go. The following paths for each division are a deep dive into the details about what exactly you need to do to get there. 


Born from 2012-2015, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, & one of the following: 

  • On Y10 NRPS
  • On Y10 Regional Youth Points Standing
  • Earn 60 Y12 Regional points this season


Born from 2010-2013, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, & one of the following: 

  • On Y12 NRPS
  • Earn 70 Y12 Regional points this season (sum of top 3 RYC results)
  • Earn 150 Y14 Regional points this season
  • Top 25% Y14 Divisional Qualifier this season


Born from 2008-2011, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, & one of the following: 

  • On Y14 NRPS
  • Earn 150 Y14 Regional points this season (sum of top 3 RYC result)
  • Top 25% Y14 Divisional qualifier this season

Cadet (July Challenge)

Born from 2007-2010 & one of the following: 

  • On Cadet NRPS
  • Earn 65 Regional points this season on Cadet or Junior Regional Point Standings
  • Top 50% Y14 NRPS
  • EPEE ONLY – top 3 Modern Pentathlon

Junior (July Challenge)

Born from 2004-2010 & one of the following: 

  • On Junior NRPS
  • On Cadet NRPS
  • Top 25% Y14 NRPS
  • Earn 65 Junior Regional Points this season on Junior Regional Circuit Points
  • Foreign athletes who are A or B

Division 1

Born in 2009 or earlier, class A, B, or C, & meet one of the following: 

  • Be on the current Senior NRPS
  • Be on the current Junior NRPS
  • Top 24 current Cadet NRPS
  • Top 16 2022-23 Division 1A Regional Point Standings
  • Top 4 2022-23 Division II Regional Point Standings
  • 2022 NCAA National Champion Individual Competitor
  • Foreign athletes who are A or B

Division 1A

Born in 2009 or earlier, class A, B, C, D, E, or U, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, & meet one of the following:  

  • On 2022-23 Div 1A ROC Regional Point Standings
  • Top 8 2022-23 Division 2 ROC Regional Point Standings

Division 2

Born in 2009 or earlier, class C, D, E, or U, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, & meet one of the following:  

  • Top 25% of 2022-23 division qualifying competition
  • On 2022-23 Div 1A ROC Regional Point Standings
  • On 2022-23 Div 2 ROC Regional Point Standings 

Division 3

Born in 2009 or earlier, class D, E, or U, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, & meet one of the following:  

  • Top 25% of total D,E, or U fencers currently or 2022-23 of Division II Qualifying competition (if Div 2 and Div 3 are held together), or top 25% of Div III if held separately
  • On Div 1A or Div 2 ROC Point Standings for 2022-23


Meet the age eligibility requirements for their division – V40, V50, V60, V70+ and V80+ & meet one of the following:  

  • On Veteran NRPS
  • On Veteran RPS
  • Compete in any NAC
  • Compete in any ROC
  • Compete in current season Div 1 or Div 2 championship

Unlike youth categories, where you must qualify for each age category independently, there is no “age-specific” qualification for veterans. Once you qualify for veterans, you can compete either in your age-specific category or in a veteran open tournament.

22-23 Remaining National Fencing Tournaments

There are multiple paths to getting to the Summer Nationals, with the regional and divisional paths being formed by the offerings in the part of the country where you live. Listing each of these individual competitions would take a huge amount of space and only apply to certain fencers. The national path, however, is open to everyone and is fairly concise. 

Don’t just try to make sense of this yourself – talk to your coach about what you need to do. This is the best way to know for sure where you stand! It takes a combination of looking at your fencing points and finishes on the USA Fencing website, as well as looking at the rules and regulations. 

Keep in mind that the Junior Olympics are also technically a national competition and can be used for qualification, and as such they’re included. 

December NAC

Dec. 9-12, 2022 in Salt Lake City, UT

Division I, Junior and Cadet

January North American Cup

Jan. 6-9, 2023 in Louisville, KY

Division I, Junior, Parafencing, Veteran Combined, and Veteran Age

Junior Olympic Championships

February 17-20, 2023,  Denver, CO

Junior, Cadet, and Junior Team

March North American Cup

March 3-6, 2023 in Fort Worth, TX

Y14, Y12, Y10, Cadet, Cadet Team, Parafencing, Veteran Age and Veteran Open

Pay attention that the March NAC is the first national level competition after the Junior Olympics when Cadet and Junior have a new age requirement:

Cadet – born 2007-2010

Junior – born 2004-2010

Yes, in March NAC and in July Challenge, the Y12 fencers born in 2010 can compete in both Cadet and Junior competitions! Isn’t that crazy?

Division I / Parafencing National Championships and April NAC

April 21-24, 2022 in  St. Louis, MO

Championships: Division I, Division I Team and Parafencing

NAC: Junior, Cadet, and Division II

For fencers who are looking for the most straightforward and simplistic path to SN, participating in these large tournaments is the easiest way to go. 

The method is not the important part, though, it’s the outcome. 

If you are on the fence about making a run for Summer Nationals, either because you are intimidated or because you don’t think you’re quite ready yet, the best advice in this situation is to go for it! You have lots of time between here and the end of spring when it’s all decided. Take control of your fencing destiny. 

Work on those goals, create a path forward for yourself, and we hope to see you at SN next year!

P.S., for those of you who want a quick reference, we’ve created an Infographic. Click here and learn how to qualify for 2023 Fencing Summer Nationals in Phoenix, Arizona for your specific age category!


Recalibrating as you Age in Fencing


What are USA Fencing Divisions 1, 1A, 2 and 3


  1. JS

    This is very helpful!! Thank you!!
    (FYI the link for the infographic at the end got an error message…)

    • Igor Chirashnya

      Thank you for pointing this out! I forgot to switch the presentation to public mode. Done now! You can see the infographic in full. Please let me know if this works for you.

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