ACC Fencing Championships

Discussion in 'Fencing Discussion' started by Downtown, Feb 24, 2018.

  1. Downtown

    Downtown DE Bracket

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  2. Ancientepee

    Ancientepee Podium

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  3. Lefty Belgian

    Lefty Belgian DE Bracket

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    Ancient, since you seem attuned to all things fencing-arcane, perhaps you can weigh-in on some questions regarding formats for these regional events. Today's Women's Team event ended in a 3-way tie, at least as far as W/L. Yet, rather than declare a 3-way tie or declare a winner based on Victories - TR - Touches, there was an actual "fence-off". Why is it done this way in the ACC? Is this the format for other conference tournaments? And, most curious, why do the Ivies not arrive at a single team winner in their annual League Championship? Thanks!
     
  4. jdude97

    jdude97 Podium

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    AFAIK only the ACC and the Ivy League currently sponsor conference championships as far as conferences that exist for sports other than fencing go (there are plenty of fencing-specific conferences, such as the MACFA, NFC, etc.). I can't speak to the ACC format, and I don't have a definitive answer for the Ivy League, but my conjecture supported by conversations with multiple Ivy League coaches is that Ivy League schools are happy for there to be shared titles so that they can go back to their school's athletic department and advertise a conference title. The school is happy to advertise a title, as is the coach when it comes to recruiting. No one really minds that it's shared. As far as everyone involved in concerned, they'd give everyone a title if they good, the more the merrier. I would be very surprised if the Ivy League ever changes its policy in this regard.

    Question on the ACC format: what exactly is the tiebreaker? Would it have been head-to-head record had it ended in a 2 way tie, or would there still have been a fence off? Would the fence-off have included Duke-Notre Dame had UNC not clinched the title with 2 wins? What if there were still a tie after the fence off?
     
  5. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    So it's like one of those sports for kids where "everyone wins!"?
     
  6. darius

    darius Podium

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    Tiebreaker is 3-weapon barrage: each school nominates a fencer in each weapon, and best 2-of-3 5-touch bouts wins. I believe the rationale was that the likely scenario was two schools with 2-1 records and two schools with 1-2 records, so the first-place schools would fence the tiebreak.

    As it turns out, that wasn't the case, with 3 schools earning 2-1 records and one school finishing 0-3. So ND gets seeded first by virtue of initial seed, and Duke / UNC did the barrage in elimination format. Winner fences against ND, and the rest is history.
     
  7. SevenDad

    SevenDad DE Bracket

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    An unexpected result on the women's side, for sure. But you have to hand it to UNC...their tie-breaker fencers had to beat Francesca Russo AND Amanda Sirico to come out on top.
     
  8. Poncho825

    Poncho825 Rookie

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    Inquartata, I couldn't agree more. It's like T-Ball or Little League all over again, where everyone gets a trophy for participating. It's a shame that the Ivy's accept a three way tie for a championship. When six teams participate and three can claim the title, it's an empty championship.
     
  9. Mac A. Bee

    Mac A. Bee is a Verified Fencing ExpertMac A. Bee Podium

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    Explains that league's "Co-Coach of the Year".
     
  10. Lefty Belgian

    Lefty Belgian DE Bracket

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    ...hmmmm...pondering which is more 'bush' -- a co-championship among DV1 teams arguably in contention for a national championship or an outright win by a DV1 team in a conference championship otherwise populated by luminary fencing powers such as Xavier, Oberlin, University of Toledo, and Oakland University.

    Snarkiness aside, do have to hand it to the ACC for coming up with a reasonable (and exciting!) tie-breaker formula. Definitely something the Ivies should consider. Do think, however, that the Ivies are going for something very different in their league championship which is not solely about winning or giving every team a participation trophy.
     
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  11. jdude97

    jdude97 Podium

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    For the Ivies, it's absolutely not about giving the kids a participation trophy. It's about marketing and appearances. Fencing teams are often the first ones on the chopping block when the budget gets tight, but it's much harder to cut a team that wins championships. So make it "easier" to win championships. The champions still have to earn their titles. Go look at the rosters of some Ivy teams and tell me it's easy to go 4-1 in that field. Teams also try very hard to not have to share a title. It's just that we're in a time of unusual parity amongst men's teams in the Ivy League, resulting in very competitive tournaments at the expense of some ties.

    I would be in strong favor of a tiebreaker at Ivies. It just will never happen.
     
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  12. tbryan

    tbryan Podium

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    I have no special insight, but I imagine that they do a tie breaker instead of just basing the final placing on the win-loss records because it's a more exciting way to end.

    It's also one of the advantages of the DE format in FIE and US fencing. When the format used to be all pool bouts, the gold medalist was the winner of the final pool. Sometimes, the gold medalist was determined one or two bouts before the end of the tournament. If the two fencers with 0 losses fence third-to-last, after that bout, you know the winner. In that case, the remaining two bouts feature fencers who would be, at best, second place. After the gold medalist wins the tournament, you might still be sitting there, watching to see a couple of people fighting to determine the 5th vs. 6th place, for example. Anti-climactic.

    FYI - I was at the ACCs on Sunday, but I left before the tie-breaker because I assumed that the teams would be placed by their win/loss records. :(

    It was really exciting to watch the Duke vs. Notre Dame match come down to the last two bouts in the final round. Duke finally won the match against Notre Dame 15 to 12. I guess many people find it unsatisfying to say that after someone pulls off a tie, the tournament ends just by ordering the teams by their win/loss records anyway. The tie-breaker is a fast but fair way to break the overall tie in a fence off.

    The weird thing about this particular event was if Notre Dame had beaten Duke in the final round of team matches, then it would have been
    1) Notre Dame
    2) UNC
    3) Duke

    Ordering the three tied teams by their total win-loss record for the day would have probably put the teams in the order
    1) Notre Dame
    2) Duke
    3) UNC

    UNC beat Duke in their tie breaker. Notre Dame beat UNC in the regular team match, but they lost to UNC in the tie breaker. The final standings were
    1) UNC
    2) Notre Dame
    3) Duke

    One way to look at it is that the effect of Duke beating Notre Dame in their team match was to move UNC into 1st. Exciting, but a little weird. o_O
     
  13. tbryan

    tbryan Podium

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  14. dsapery

    dsapery DE Bracket

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    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018
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  15. dsapery

    dsapery DE Bracket

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    I'll chime in instead, since I'm the BC chair for both of these conferences.

    The ACC and the Ivy League are the only conferences that hold tournaments like this, so the question about other tournaments is moot. There are minor conferences like the Midwest Fencing Conference, but that's not a conference in the same sense as Ivies or ACCs. It's more akin to the Philadelphia Big Five in basketball.

    As best I can guess, the ACC doesn't like ties. The tournament manual specifies this tiebreaker format for the team competition. In the individual competition, they have a bronze medal bout, which I believe makes them the only significant fencing tournament other than the Olympics that does this anymore.

    The Ivies have a longstanding tradition of not resolving ties. Until they started crowning an individual champion in each weapon just a few years ago, they didn't resolve ties there either. Even that bucks fencing tradition, as you use indicators and TS to break a tie for 1st place instead of a barrage.

    In summary:

    IVIES:
    * Team title determined by w/l records in dual meets. Doesn't matter if a match ends 27-0 or 14-13, it's simply 1 win. Indicators are not considered. A tie for 1st place results in a shared championship.
    * Individual title determined by the athletes' individual w/l records during the dual meets (each dual meet bout counts towards both, team and individual standings). Final standings are sorted by w/l %, so 8-4 and 10-5 are considered tied. Indicators and TS are only used to break a tie for 1st place, all other ties remain.

    ACCs:
    * Team title determined by w/l records in dual meets. Doesn't matter if a match ends 27-0 or 14-13, it's simply 1 win. Indicators are not considered. A tie for 1st place is broken using a 3-weapon barrage.
    * Individual title determined by a separate competition conducted as a monster pool with up to 4 athletes per school. Top 4 after the pool advance to DE, including a bout for 3rd place.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018
  16. dsapery

    dsapery DE Bracket

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    In the tiebreaker, each school nominates 1 athlete per weapon. All 3 bouts are fenced concurrently, and the team that wins 2 wins the tie-breaker.

    With 3 teams tying for 1st, the one that entered the tournament as the highest seed was given a bye (in this case Notre Dame). The other 2 fenced the same format described above to determine who would face Notre Dame for the title.

    Under this format, it's impossible to still have a tie after the fence-off.
     
  17. Steve Khinoy

    Steve Khinoy DE Bracket

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    Please realize that there are lots of D-1 and D-1a conferences that accept ties for the conference championship ... in football and other sports.
    And in fencing, at least, I (prefer to) believe that the sport is for the athletes, not the fans.
     
  18. jdude97

    jdude97 Podium

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    Thanks for all the info @dsapery! Was the bye for high seed determined by coaches poll ranking?
     
  19. darius

    darius Podium

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    It also created an interesting situation for the highly-partisan fans of the Tobacco Road schools. Once everybody noticed that a tiebreak was a thing, the Heels fans became highly invested in Duke beating ND. And once it was a UNC - ND final, most of the Cameron Crazies decided that they'd prefer a good old-fashioned upset.
     
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  20. Ancientepee

    Ancientepee Podium

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    Just to flaunt my fencing-arcane trivia, I would point out that while the NCAA fencing championships have always used fence-offs to break ties and designate only one individual champion in each weapon (I won a 5-touch fence-off with a Navy fencer in 1967 to become the individual epee champion), they did not always do this for the team championship. Army and Rutgers shared the team title in 1949 and Columbia and NYU shared the team title in both 1954 and 1971. At that time, the overall team title was determined by adding together the number of victories of the epee, foil, and sabre fencers in the individual events. If teams had an equal number of victories, they were recorded as tied regardless of whether it was for first place or last place or how many teams were so tied. I was once told that the coaches decided not to use touch counts to break ties because the officiating was so bad in those early championships that they thought that just the number of victories should count.

    There was one exception to this in those early days. In 1977, New York University and Notre Dame finished in a tie for first place with 114 victories each. Under the rules then in place, the two schools should have been declared co‐champions. Hugo Castello, the NYU coach, and Mike DeCicco, the Notre Dame coach, went to the bout committee and said that they didn’t want a co‐championship. Instead they proposed that their sabre, foil, and epee fencers fence each other and whichever school won two of the three bouts would be the champion and the other school would be second. Since the coaches were in agreement, the bout committee waived the rules and allowed the fence‐off. Notre Dame won the first two bouts (making the third bout unnecessary) and was declared the team champion for that year. So the ACC procedure for breaking ties is not unprecedented.

    Since then, no teams have tied for first with the same number of total of victories. Until 2012, teams that tied for lower placement were still shown as tied in the final standings. Starting with the 2013 championships, touch indicators have been used to resolve ties. I'm not sure if that would be the case if teams were tied for first or if another tie-breaking mechanism would be used. David Sapery might post what the current rules are for ties for first place.

    As for the conference championships, since the team title is pretty meaningless, I'm sure that the reason given above that the fencing coaches like to brag that their team won the conference championship to their AD is probably correct. The Ivy League situation is pretty ridiculous because the seven women's teams could end up all tied with 3-3 records resulting in all seven teams being the Ivy League champion. The six men's teams could have a five-way tie of 3-2 if one of the schools does not have a victory.
     
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