skip navigation

Events Review Group Offers More Than a Dozen Recommendations

04/19/2023, 11:00am CDT
By Bryan Wendell

The USA Fencing Events Review Group, made up of a dozen key stakeholders and staff members, offered 15 recommendations with one main message: simplify to excel.

A look at the March 2023 NAC in Fort Worth. (Photo by Serge Timacheff)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Fifteen recommendations, one underlying message: simplify to excel. That was the takeaway from a report created by the USA Fencing Events Review Group, which includes a dozen key stakeholders and staff members. The group’s analysis of USA Fencing events was presented to the USA Fencing Board of Directors at the April 16 meeting

The group’s recommendations focused on simplification, inclusiveness and providing a clear structure for growth. These were their key recommendations:

  1. Combine a National Points list with a simple ranking system using a multiplier system. Implement a new points system by Oct. 1, 2023, and control NAC participation based on points totals, with a goal of sustainable NAC events from 24-25 with the goal of being able to accommodate reasonably current and desired events in NAC events

  2. Refocus on the 20-39 age group, starting with the return of Division II Fencing to the NAC circuit, and the trial and creation of a true adult fencing age group. Create structures to support this age group at all levels.

  3. Create a true season for youth fencers by not sanctioning Y8, Y10 or Y12 competitions in the time between the Summer Nationals and Sept. 1 each year, beginning in the 2024-2025 season.

  4. Create a robust “staircase” structure for individuals within the sport, regardless of age, using the unified points structure as the foundation, therefore making the sport easier to understand for all.

  5. Rethink the role of divisions in event management and competition opportunities with a view to aggressively increasing local event opportunities, including providing localized cup formats and re-evaluating the structure of USA Fencing regions.

  6. Create an Elite Cup event to ensure high-quality performances even when NAC and World Cup or Grand Prix events are scheduled close together.

  7. Continue to expand the “combo events” format (like an SJCC combined with an FIE Grand Prix), which has proven financially beneficial and provides additional opportunities for the fencing community.

  8. Build a Collegiate Cup Series in May and June to support college opportunities, generate fundraising for college programs and showcase NCAA programs to future collegiate fencers.

  9. Expand international reach by working with other national federations and sponsors to grow the International Regional Cup series.

  10. Create a Local Event Pack — an "event in a box" approach — to simplify hosting events at an affordable price point while maintaining minimum standards.

  11. Develop various educational guides to the sport, including a parents’ guide and quick-reference guides for referees, bout committee, armory and other roles.

  12. Consider introducing a High School National Championship to support the growth of fencing in high schools and provide similar support as offered to the collegiate community.

  13. Refocus on team events, including testing different shortened formats to reduce the load on strips and officials.

  14. Create rewards at various levels using the unified points list, such as recognizing leading fencers in specific weapons and states.

  15. Align strategic partnerships with associated weapon sports, exploring “cousin weapon” sports (like lightsaber) to grow the fencing community as a whole.

With these recommendations in hand, USA Fencing staff and Board members will now review the recommendations and discuss ways to implement them where appropriate. Their goal: create and support USA Fencing tournaments that offer challenging and rewarding competitive opportunities while remaining financially viable.

Members of the USA Fencing Events Review Group

  • Brandon Rochelle (Chair, USA Fencing Tournament Committee).

  • Eliza Mace (Data Analyst, Athlete)

  • Pawel Kraj (Board Member - Midwest Fencing Conference, Athlete)

  • Richard Weiss (USA Fencing VA Division Chair, Division Resource Committee Member) 

  • Debbie Lavety (Parent)

  • Michael Green (Coach, Brooklyn Bridge Fencing)

  • Juan Ignacio Calderon (Head Coach, UC-San Diego)

  • Heather Lawrence (Director of Sport Operations - CrossFit & Board, USA Wrestling) 

  • John David (COO - USA BMX and Secretary, Sports Events & Travel Association) 

  • Lauryn Deluca PLY (Paralympian & USFA Board Member, Athlete Commission Member).

  • Glen Hollingsworth (Director of National Events, USA Fencing)

  • Phil Andrews (CEO, USA Fencing)

Tag(s): Updates