USA Fencing Points - USA Fencing 101 Series

As USA Fencing recently published on their USA Fencing 101 social media post, the organization maintains a comprehensive points system, encompassing various categories and divisions, that play a pivotal role in the competitive landscape of the sport. Understanding these points systems is essential for fencers and their families, as they provide a roadmap for participation, qualification, and recognition within the fencing community. In this installment of our “USA Fencing 101” series, we will delve into the intricacies of USA Fencing points, breaking down the five major points lists and shedding light on how fencers can earn and utilize these points to further their fencing journeys in the hope that all these different post systems will make sense to aspiring fencers and their parents.

In particular, there are 5 major points lists that fencers should be aware:

  1. Regional Points Standing (Youth, Cadet, Junior)
  2. Regional Open Circuit Standing (Div1A, Div2)
  3. National Rolling Points Standing (Youth, Cadet, Junior, Senior, Veteran)
  4. National Team Point Standing (Cadet, Junior, Senior, Veteran)
  5. Parafencing National Point Standing

Regional Points Standing (Youth, Cadet, Junior)

What Are Regional Points?

Regional Points Standing, as the name suggests, pertains to the points earned by fencers in the Youth, Cadet, and Junior categories within their respective regions. The United States is divided into six fencing regions, and fencers accumulate regional points by competing in their own region. While Youth and Cadet/Junior regional points share some similarities, there are significant differences between the two.

Youth Regional Points:

Youth regional points are earned through participation in the Regional Youth Circuit (RYC) events. Each RYC awards up to 100 points, with fencers earning points based on their final placements. The total number of regional points a fencer can earn is the sum of their top three RYC results. It’s important to note that RYC results are only valid for a single season (August 1 – July 31), and they do not correlate across different age categories.

How Are Youth Regional Points Used?

The primary purpose of Youth Regional points is to qualify for the National Championship in the respective age category. These championships are an integral part of the annual Summer Nationals event, which typically takes place in early July. Additionally, as fencers age out of their respective categories, their previous age regional points are no longer tracked.

Cadet and Junior Regional Points:

Cadet and Junior Regional Points are earned through participation in the Regional Junior and Cadet Circuit (RJCC) events. Similar to RYC events, each RJCC awards up to 100 points, and fencers accumulate points based on their final rankings. For Cadet and Junior categories, the total number of regional points is determined by the sum of the top two RJCC results.

How Are Cadet and Junior Regional Points Used?

These points serve as qualifications for events such as Junior Olympics (JO’s), which takes place in February each year during Presidents’ Day weekend, and the July Challenge, part of the Summer Nationals. Cadet and Junior age categories align with JO’s, with their seasons running from February to February to facilitate the qualification process for Junior and Cadet World Championships.

Regional Open Circuit Standing (Div1A, Div2, Veteran)

Regional Open Circuit (ROC) events cater to Senior fencers (ages 13 and above) and Veteran fencers (ages 40 and above). Unlike RYC and RJCC events, ROC events are unique in several ways:

  • Inclusivity: ROC events are open to competitors from all regions, making them more accessible for fencers regardless of their geographical location.
  • Two Distinct Divisions: ROC events are divided into Div1A and Div2 categories. Div2 ROC events are exclusively for fencers rated C and lower (C, D, E, and U), while Div1A ROC events have no rating restrictions.
  • Age Groups: Veteran ROC events are exclusively for fencers in the veteran age category (40 and above), while Div1A and Div2 ROC events are open to fencers of all ages.

ROC events offer a unique opportunity for young fencers to compete against seasoned adults, creating a dynamic and enriching experience. Additionally, ROC points are awarded to the top 40% of participants in Div1A and Div2.

National Rolling Points Standing (Youth, Cadet, Junior, Senior, Veteran)

National Rolling Points Standing (NRPS) encompasses a broader scope, featuring five age categories: Youth, Cadet, Junior, Senior, and Veteran. Fencers can earn NRPS points exclusively through national-level events or Super Regional Events. The three types of national-level events include:

  • National Championship: Open to all age groups and divisions, National Championships serve as a pivotal platform for earning NRPS points.
  • North American Cups (NACs): NACs are available for various age groups, including Y10/12/14, Cadet, Junior, Senior, Veteran Age, Veteran Combined, Div1, Div2, and Team events.
  • July Challenge: Held in conjunction with USA Fencing Summer Nationals, July Challenge is a national-level competition for Div1, Cadet, and Juniors.

In addition to national-level events, two Super Regional Events contribute to NRPS points:

  • Super Youth Circuit (SYC): SYC events are tailored for Youth (10/12/14) fencers.
  • Super Junior and Cadet Circuit (SJCC): SJCC events are designed for Cadet and Junior fencers.

Unlike Regional points, NRPS points propagate down. For example, if a fencer earns national points in a higher age category, such as Junior or Div1, those points also contribute to their Cadet or Youth NRPS standings.

NRPS points offer a comprehensive overview of a fencer’s performance over an extended period, as they are not reset each season but are substituted in a rolling window fashion. These rolling points reflect a fencer’s progress and achievements, with results from specific events replacing those from similar events in the previous year. Moreover, NRPS calculations for Cadet, Junior, Senior, and Veteran categories incorporate international events, assigning them a greater weight for higher age categories (Cadet–>Junior–>Senior).

How Are NRPS Points Used?

NRPS points serve multiple purposes:

  • Qualification: Fencers with NRPS points are automatically qualified for the respective national championship or July Challenge in their category.
  • Seeding: NRPS points influence seeding in national and regional competitions, providing a competitive advantage based on a fencer’s performance history.
  • Traveling Teams: For Cadet, Junior, Senior, and Veteran fencers, NRPS points play a critical role in selecting the traveling team for international competitions, including World Championships and Olympic Games.

National Team Point Standing (Cadet, Junior, Senior, Veteran)

National Team Point Standing is a distinct category designed exclusively for selecting the national team that represents the United States in major international fencing competitions, such as the World Championships and Olympic Games. USA Fencing establishes specific criteria for National Team Points Standing and begins tracking them several months into the season.

In essence, National Team Points encompass a subset of the rolling points system, with predetermined tournaments that count toward a fencer’s standing. These points serve as the primary determinant for team selection, ensuring that the most qualified and competitive fencers represent the United States on the international stage.

Parafencing National Point Standing

Parafencing National Points operate in a manner similar to National Rolling Points. These points are earned through participation in national and international competitions and are utilized for seeding at domestic parafencing tournaments and the selection process for international tournaments.

Conclusion

In the world of competitive fencing, points are the currency of recognition, qualification, and progress. Understanding the nuances of the various points systems, from Regional to National Rolling Points and National Team Points, is essential for fencers and their families. These points systems serve as roadmaps, guiding fencers on their journeys, rewarding dedication and performance, and ultimately shaping the future of fencing in the United States.

Stay tuned for more installments in our “USA Fencing 101” series as we continue to explore the intricacies of this fascinating sport.

Photo: Courtesy of the USA Fencing, and it served as a primary motivation for this post.