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Qualification Changes for USA Fencing Events

This past year we’ve seen many changes regarding point based qualification paths for the 2015 Summer Nationals and now it seems to be solidified for the rest of the season.

For those that are out of the loop, USA Fencing has replaced the July NAC with the July Challenge. What exactly is the difference? You may only compete in the July Challenge if you meet a certain set of requirements (aka qualifications). In previous years there were no qualifications for the July NAC outside of age eligibility and class, such as Division I only being open to C, B, and A ranked fencers.

But why, some ask, does USA Fencing want to make it harder for fencers to compete nationally in the first place? You can get all sorts of answers ranging from not enough qualified referees to just not enough resources and space.

Last year Mary Griffith shared on her blog that there were nearly two thousand more individual entries for the 2014 Summer Nationals then in 2013, totally almost 9,000. She also has a write up summarizing the event and issues faced leading up to it. Others also let their voice be heard by posting on Fencing.net forums and social networking; many to air their criticisms of SN.

The takeaway: change is needed somewhere. Point Based Qualifying (PBQ) was put forward as a possible answer because it not only adjusts the number of fencers that can compete at national events, but puts a bigger focus on regional events.

The addition of the July Challenge has come as a great surprise to many who were not expecting PBQ to be introduced to NACs until the 2015-2016 season at the earliest. Recently, USA Fencing has stated on their website that the use of PBQ will be suspended for the current season at NACs so they can better determine what competitions are best suited for it. However the July Challenge will still use PBQ to determine eligible entrants, though it has gone through a couple changes over the past few months.

Timeline of PBQ Changes to the July Challenge:

  • February 2014: USA Fencing publishes their Tournament Improvement Report
  • June 22nd – July 23rd, 2014: USA Fencing hosts the 2014 National Championships and July NAC
  • August 18th, 2014: USA Fencing introduces the July Challenge
  • September 18th, 2014: USA Fencing releases a July Challenge FAQ
  • January 12th, 2015: USA Fencing updates qualification paths for July Challenge Junior and Cadet events, as well as the Division II National Championship event
  • January 16th, 2015: Fencing.net receives confirmation from the USA Fencing National Office that no further PBQ changes will be made for the July Challenge

The January 12th changes seem to address the concerns of many that the qualification paths were too hard and created a big gap between national events if one did not qualify for Summer Nationals. The addition has made it actually much easier for Juniors and Cadets, who now just need to make it out of pools at Junior Olympics to qualify. However, no changes have been made to the Division I event.

So, how do you qualify?

 

Qualification Paths for each USA Fencing Summer Nationals Event:

Division I July Challenge:

  • Be on the current Senior National Rolling Point Standings (NRPS) at the regular fee entry deadline for this Challenge OR
  • Be in the top 24 of the Junior National Rolling Point Standings (NRPS) at the regular fee entry deadline for this Challenge OR
  • Be in the top 16 of the Cadet National Rolling Point Standings (NRPS) at the regular fee entry deadline for this Challenge OR
  • Be in the top 8 of the Division 1A regional points at the regular fee entry deadline for this Challenge OR
  • Be in the top 4 of the Division II regional points at the regular fee entry deadline for this Challenge OR
  • Foreign athletes who meet the USA Fencing classification standard of an “A” or “B” as defined in the Athlete Handbook 2.2.5

Junior July Challenge:

  • Be on the current Junior National Rolling Point Standings (NRPS) at the regular fee entry deadline for this Challenge OR
  • Be in the top 75% of the Cadet National Rolling Point Standings (NRPS) at the regular fee entry deadline for this Challenge OR
  • Be in the top 80% of Junior JOs results and age eligible OR
  • Be in the top 25% of the Youth 14 National Rolling Point Standings (NRPS) at the regular fee entry deadline for this Challenge OR
  • Foreign athletes who meet the USA Fencing classification standard of “A” or “B” as defined in the Athlete Handbook 2.2.5

Cadet July Challenge:

  • Be on the current Cadet National Rolling Point Standings (NRPS) at the regular fee entry deadline for this Challenge OR
  • Be in the top 50% of the Y14 National Rolling Point Standings (NRPS) at the regular fee entry deadline for this Challenge OR
  • Be in the top 80% of Cadet JOs results and age eligible OR
  • Be in the top 80% of Junior JOs results and age eligible
  • Foreign athletes who meet the USA Fencing classification standard of “A”, “B”  or “C” as defined in the Athlete Handbook 2.2.5

Qualifications for Summer Championships and other information regarding Summer Nationals can be viewed on the USA Fencing website.

As of our publishing time, the USA Fencing National Office has declined to comment on qualification paths for the 2015-2016 season, but changes to these qualification paths are expected for the 2015-2016 fencing season.

 

Overview of 2015 Summer Nationals Events:

The Summer Nationals is part National Championships, part NAC so you can refer to it as more of a “National Fencing Festival” (c) than anything else.

The National Championship events are championship events for alternate divisions of USA Fencing as the Division I/Senior National Championships occur at the end of February and the Junior Olympics serve as the National Championships for Cadet and Junior fencers. The lower level championships are for: Division IA, Division 2, Division 3, Youth 10, 12, and 14 as well as the Veteran age group events (40/50/60/70+).

The remaining events are rolled into a “July NAC” that is now being called the “July Challenge”. Those events are: Division I, Junior, and Cadet.

Ongoing discussion in the forums: http://www.fencing.net/forums/thread78982.html

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