In the Mar 2016 article, Parent’s Corner discussed regional points for fencing. This month, Parent’s Corner is going to give an overview of national points from the point of view of Y14 and under fencing.
We will cover:
- What are youth national points?
- How are national points earned?
- How to view national points on the US Fencing website
What are national points?
National points are a system used by US Fencing to rank athletes in each gender/weapon/age category. There are three age categories for youth fencing: Y10, Y12, and Y14. For example, there are separate categories for Y10 women’s foil and Y14 men’s epee.
Youth national points serve three purposes:
- Ranking of youth fencers nationally
- Initial seeding of youth fencers at SYCs, NACs, and RYCs
- Allowing a younger fencer to “fence up” in an age category above their chronological category
The ranking bit is probably obvious, and we’ll cover the initial seeding in a moment. The “fence up” allows the very best youth fencers to fence against much older kids in SYCs and national events. Generally, a youth fencer is only allowed to fence in their chronological age category and one step above. An exception is made for fencers on point lists; they can potentially fence more than one age group higher.
Points are the primary way to seed youth fencers. In Feb 2016, Parent’s Corner discussed how letter ratings are used to seed fencers at events. In youth events, especially at the Y10 and Y12 levels, most of the competitors will not have letter ratings. Therefore, for RYCs, SYCs, and youth NACs, youth event competitors are seeded first by their standing on the national points list. Just like with letters ratings, this allows top-seeded fencers to be fairly and evenly distributed in the pool round. Below is an example of a recent initial seeding for a youth SYC event. All of the fencers in this Y10 event are “U” fencers (unrated), but are seeded by their national point standing in Y10 women’s foil at the time of the event. If this event had four pools, the top four seeded fencers are placed in different pools, and then the next four fencers with points standing are also placed in different pools. This way, each pool has an even distribution of the more experienced fencers.
How are national pointed earned?
Similar to regional points, national points are earned by a fencer who places well at specific competitions. National points for youth fencers are earned at two types of competitions: Super Youth Circuit (SYC) and certain North American Cup (NAC) events that have youth category events. All SYCs are strictly youth events and will have a separate gender-separated event for each age group and weapon. NACs are a national series of once-monthly tournaments, but only certain NACs have youth events.
SYCs will be the most typical path for youth fencers to earn national points. The 2016 calendar for SYCs can be found on the US Fencing website. RFC is once again hosting an SYC right here in Rochester in late October 2016.
To earn national points at an SYC or NAC a youth fencer needs to place in the top 40% of the event for their chronological age category or one category above. For example, a Y12 fencer can earn Y12 points in either a Y12 or a Y14 event. The top 4 results in the last 12 months count towards the points list. This means fencing more events gives a fencer the opportunity to earn more points, but there’s an upper limit on how many points can be earned by simply fencing more frequently.
Where to view national points?
US Fencing maintains an up-to-date points list for each weapon/gender/age on their website. From here, click the gender/weapon (for example “Women’s Sabre”), then from the next page, choose the link for the appropriate age category.
The points system is somewhat complicated, and this article has intentionally skipped some intricacies that are more exception than norm. For a detailed description of national points at all levels of fencing, I recommend this excellent blog post from the Academy of Fencing Masters fencing club website. Their blog is really well done and there are many outstanding posts.