So You Wanna Be A Rock And Roll Star ...
Note!!!!. Many qualification rules were changed in September 2006, and only reflected in the Athlete's Handbook as of Feb. 7, 2007. Although I have attempted to make this document as accurate as possible, it may not be completely up to date. Please consult the REVISED Athlete's handbook for definitive information.
How to Qualify for USFA National Events
Disclaimer:The information presented here is an un-official distillation and simplification of the rules from the "USFA Athletes Progams Handbook". Neither the Long Island Division of the USFA nor the author (Tony Aiuto) makes any claims as to the validity of this information. It is provided as a convenience to fencers who want to begin to understand the competitive qualification process. It leaves out many details relevent to Veteran fencers and highly successful youth fencers competing above their age group. If you are old enough to be fencing Veteran, you either know the rules or can decipher them. If you the parent of a child who is going to World Cup events, then you should have read USFA athletes handbook thoroughly.
There are many regional and national events you can attend. Some are open to all USFA members, some require you to qualify. Some are restricted by age, others by USFA classification. Some are "open" to any fencer. Our calendar of competitions lists as many relevent events as we could find. This guide describes how to qualify for the USFA National events. [Practice! :-) ] It is aimed towards the competitive fencer who is starting their career.
Age, Classification, Division & Points
Now let's see how you actually qualify for various competitions.
|Event||Ways to Qualify|
|Youth 10 & 12||You must attend an RYC or SYC or be on the NRPS for your age group
prior to registering for the NAC
Note: this is a change from previous years. Please see the USFA Youth site for more information.
|Youth 14, Cadet and Junior||Be in the right age group|
|DIV I||Have a "C" or higher classification|
|DIV II||Have a "C" or lower classification|
|DIV III||Have a "D" or lower classification|
|Event||Ways to Qualify|
|Division Qualifier*||or Points||or Other|
|U20||Top 25% of Division Qualifier||Be on the Junior NRPS after the January NACor
Be on the Junior NRPS at the time of the Division's JO qualifieror
Top 16 of the Cadet NRPS after the January NAC.
|U17||Top 25% of Division Qualifier||Be on the Cadet NRPS after the January NACor
Be on the Cadet NRPS at the time of the Division's JO qualifieror
Top 8 of the Y14 NRPS after the January NAC.
|Qualify for U20|
|Event||Ways to Qualify|
|Division/Section Qualifier*||or Points||or Other|
|DIV I Championships||none||Be on the senior NRPS as of May 1, 2007 or
Top 8 of Junior NRPS as of May 1, 2007 or
Top 4 of Cadet NRPS as of May 1, 2007
|Place in top 8 at 2006 DIV I-A Nat. Championship or
Place in top 4 at 2006 DIV II Nat. Championship
|DIV I-A Championships||Top 25% of Senior NAS Sectional Championship
(Minimum of 8)
|Top 8 at 2006 DIV I-A National Championship or
top 4 at 2006 DIV II National Championship or
be the current 2007 U19 Section Champion.
|U19 Championships||Top 25% of Junior (U19) NAS Sectional Championship||Be on the Junior NRPS after the April NACor
Be on the Junior NRPS at the time of the Section's qualifying competition or
Be in the top 16 of Cadet NRPS after the April NAC or
Be in the top 16 of Cadet NRPS at the time of the Section's qualifying competition.
|DIV II Championships||Top 25% of LI Division Qualifier
Must be rated 'C', 'D', 'E' or 'U'
at time of qualifier
|U16 Championships||Top 25% of LI Division Qualifier||Be on the Cadet NRPS after the April NAC or
Be on the Cadet NRPS at the time of the Section's qualifying competition or
Top 8 of Y14 NRPS after the April NAC
|Qualify for U19|
|Y14 Championships||Top 25% of LI Division Y-14 Qualifier||Earn Youth 14 points at a current season Super Youth Circuit Competition or
Earn points at a current season Youth 14 NAC, Cadet NAC, or Cadet Summer National Championships or
Earn points at the previous season's Youth 14 Summer National Championships
|Y12 Open||Fence in one Regional, Super or NAC Y12 event in 2006-2007 season.||Be on the Y12 NRPS after the April NAC|
|Y10 Open||Fence in one Regional, Super or NAC Y10 event in 2006-2006 season.||Be on the Y10 NRPS after the April NAC|
* The percentages of qualifying fencers quoted in these tables is actually more complex and subject to other variables such as the number of automatic qualifiers competing. Don't use the data here to argue with the bout committee.
What events should I attend?
Many fencers are unsure of what competitions they should attend. The short answer is - as many as possible. The longer answer depends on your goals. Some people just want to fence for recreation. For them, the choice is simple. Go to the National ones that don't hurt the pocket too much and go to all the local club events. Go to the North Atlantic Circuit championship events as well. You'll meet and make new friends.
For those of you trying to seriously compete, you have to balance the costs of time, training and travel. Assuming that you want to be in the best shape to do well at the Nationals, you should go to the competitions that give you the most potential value for the money. I don't want to tell you what to do, but I can share some observations gleaned from being a fencer's parent.
You're probably going to wash out at your first national competition. It's sort of obvious. You're not used to the format. You don't know what to expect. Everyone is better prepared. So, don't make the Summer Nationals your first one. Go to a NAC or the JO's first.
Having a higher letter classification helps a lot. The USFA seeds tournements by class to get a distribution of abilities in each pool. Being at the top or in the middle makes it easier to do well in pools. Doing well in pools gives you a better seeding for the DEs. That helps you get to the finals.
Being on the NRPS helps a REAL lot. The points auto-qualify you for various events, so you don't have to worry about division qualifiers. They also are used for seeding at some events. The place to earn junior points are the JO's and the Junior/Cadet NACs. And I do mean "earn". These can be really tough competitions. Don't ever think "Oh, the Cadet event is going to be easier than Div II, because it's only kids". Remember that Div II only has C fencers and below. Junior, Cadet and even Y-14 events often have a large number of A and B fencers.
Practice makes perfect. The more tournements you fence, the better you get at it. Go to the Pomme De Terre and Mr. Ma events. If you are traveling far to a venue, compete in every event you can, not just the ones you think you'll do well in. If you're young enough to do Y-14, go to all the RYC events. It doesn't matter that you have only fenced for a year. Half of the other people there aren't any better. Who knows, it may be your day to shine.
Go to your division qualifiers Just because you are an auto-qualifier doesn't mean you should be above showing up for the division qualifier. Having a bigger pool helps other fencers qualify for national events.
Remember, you should be fencing because you enjoy it. The real reward is having fun.
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