COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — There’s more than one path to the highest-caliber competitions in fencing. And so if you haven't secured your spot in the Junior Olympics, Division I Championships, or Summer Nationals through national or regional point pathways, don’t lose hope.
USA Fencing offers alternative routes for qualification — perfect for those who might have faced injuries or other significant obstacles during the season, or for fencers who just narrowly missed out on qualifying.
It's important to note, however, that fencers must choose between Divisional Qualifiers and the petition process — they cannot choose both.
When joining USA Fencing, members are required to select a division within their competition region. This division is based on either a fencer’s home address or the location of their fencing club. Please be mindful when choosing your division as you're allowed only one change per season. Most fencers will find their club and home in the same division, making their choice easy.
Divisional Qualifiers (DQs) are sanctioned by USA Fencing across the nation, designed specifically for fencers who haven’t qualified for the Junior Olympics or Summer Nationals through national or regional points. These DQs, usually hosted at local fencing clubs, are smaller events that offer a crucial pathway to national championships. (Note that DQs are not available for the Division I Championships in April.)
For Junior Olympics, DQs cater to the Cadet and Junior categories. For Summer Nationals, they include Division II, Division III, and Y-14 classifications. It's important to remember that DQs are exclusive to U.S. citizens or permanent green card holders, as they serve as qualifiers for U.S. championship events. Age and classification eligibility are standard requirements, with an exception for age if a fencer holds national points in a lower category.
To qualify through a DQ, a fencer must finish in the top 3 or top 25% of the field, whichever is higher. For instance, in a field of three, all participants qualify, but in a field of fourteen, the top four fencers (25% of 14) would qualify.
The petition route is more suited for fencers who have just missed qualifying through national or regional points, or who have been recently injured but have a history of qualifying for similar events. Petitions can be submitted via the usafencing.org website on the respective event page under 'Athlete Info'. Note that submitting a petition incurs a nonrefundable fee of $100, and requires registration for the events in question.
The petition process, which takes about 10-15 minutes to complete, includes a statement of purpose and any relevant past results that could demonstrate the fencer's capability at U.S. championship levels. Petitions are typically reviewed within seven to 10 days. Accepted petitions result in an email notification and a change in registration status from pending to approved. In the case of a denied petition, event fees (excluding the petition fee) are refunded within five to seven business days following the denial notification.