The Ben Gutenberg Memorial Super Youth Circuit in Rochester: Oct 23 – 25, 2015
Rochester Fencing Club will be hosting a Super Youth Circuit (SYC) event this October, and for many of our younger fencers this will be the first really BIG event they have ever attended. This month’s article gives parents a bit of an idea what to expect at the SYC and how to prep yourself and your fencer for this event.
What is a Super Youth Circuit event?
The Super Youth Circuit is an approximately monthly event that is one of the major, national-level youth events for US Fencing, held in various venues around the country. RFC is hosting the October 2015 SYC, and the event will be held on the SUNY Brockport Campus.
SYCs are the primary way that 14 and under fencers get on the National Points List for their age and weapon, so many of the best young fencers in the country will be there (see the October 2014 Parents Corner for more details about SYCs and other types of tournaments).
My fencer is just starting to fence competitively, so is this an appropriate event?
SYCs attract fencers of all skill levels, not just the elite. This will be the first big event for many fencers from other clubs as well. As always, discuss any concerns with your child’s coach, but an SYC right here in Rochester is a great opportunity to experience the larger fencing community at a major event without the expenses of out-of-town travel.
What is the event format?
If your fencer has already done a Mini-Musketeers or an RFC Challenge event, the SYC will be a similar format, just larger. There will still be a round of pools with typically 6 or 7 fencers per pool, where each fencer in the pool will do a five touch bout with every fencer in their pool. The best fencers (those with national points) are intentionally spread across the pools, so each pool will have a mix of skill levels. Events are both age- and gender-separated.
Based on each fencer’s pool results (% of bouts won, with a tie-breaker based on touches scored for/against called the “indicator”) all of the fencers are ranked for a direct-elimination (DE) round just like the events run at RFC. The primary difference is that rather than just ten fencers in the DE round, there may be 30 or 50, especially in Y12 and Y14 events.
For the October 2015 Parents Corner, I’ll go into details about how to read a fencing pool sheet and a DE tree (often called a “DE tableau”).
The scale of an SYC can be both exciting and intimidating, so if at all possible bring your fencer to the event the day before they compete. There will be over 40 fencing strips, a check-in table, and an armory check to verify equipment is safe and in good working order. Coming in the day before will allow your fencer to have their equipment checked and stamped (more on this below), allows them to get used to the background din, and see the venue before they have to jump right in and start fencing. An even better way to get used to the venue is to come and help set-up! The club will be looking for volunteers next month.
At this event, there is a formal armory check of equipment. This check includes
- body cords and mask cords are functioning (not shorting out)
- lames for saber and foil have no dead spots
- masks are structurally sound (and no dead spots for conductive masks)
- gloves are checked for holes (and for dead spots for saber gloves)
Make sure you go to the event with two or three functioning body cords (and mask cords for foil/saber). Don (our RFC armorer) can pre-check your gloves and lames at the club. It’s also important to have two functioning weapons . I can attest that my daughter Megan has broken a blade on the first touch of the first pool bout of an out-of-town event!
There will be an equipment vendor at the event for any immediate purchase needs.
Day of the Event
Make sure your fencer eats well before the event, stays well hydrated, and eats appropriately between pools and DEs to maintain energy levels. Nerves can make this a challenge!
You’ll need to check in formally the day of your event, usually in the hour before the scheduled start time, so make sure you arrive early. You’ll need your fencer’s USFA membership card to check-in. You can print this out online from the US Fencing website if needed. Your fencer will also need to do equipment check if you didn’t stop by the day before. Sometime the line for equipment check is long, so leave plenty of time for this.
Once checked-in, find your coach and let them know you have arrived. Your fencer should do their normal warm up routine prior to the start of pools. Many fencers like to find a partner (from our club or another) to do some practice bouting on a strip as part of warm-up. This is a great opportunity to make new fencing friends!
When pools assignments are announced, your fencer will be assigned a strip #. Strip assignments will be shown on large TV screens in the venue. When your fencer reports to their strip, the referee assigned will check all fencers’ equipment for check-in tags/stamps before starting the pools.
Most importantly, this should be a fun and exciting time for both the fencer and the parent! Regardless of final results, everyone should show respect for their referees, coaches, parents, and other competitors to set an example for our out-of-town guests. If possible, stick around after your fencer is done and cheer on RFC teammates that are still fencing, and wear your RFC jackets with pride!