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National Tournament Calendar "How did we get here?”

10/14/2009, 1:54am CDT
By No Author

National Tournament Calendar "How did we get here?"
(How the changes to the National Tournament Calendar were made and why).

During the Summer of 2009, the National Tournament Committee, representatives from the National office and the High Performance Director and Mark Stasinos, Vice-President, met in Colorado Springs at the Olympic Training Center. The purpose of these meetings was to look at our competitive calendar and examine each NAC and Championship to see if it was still serving the needs it was designed to serve or if it was time to propose changes to better meet those needs. A number of factors were discussed.

  1. Over the course of the past 40 years events have been added or reshaped on an average of once every 4 to 5 years. This makes perfect sense; as the membership numbers grow the need to provide opportunities to compete changes.

Most recently, because of the changes and growth in our membership we have created the Division II/III NAC, added Women's Saber as a Division I event, created the Summer Nationals and youth events, added a Youth NAC, the developed the RYC and SYC, created the Division IA for Nationals, added the Veteran NAC's, restricted by classification(C and Higher) the Division I NAC's, the developed the Division IA ROC's and the addition of Veteran 70 events.

Change, because of our growth, is a very good problem to have and deal with.

  1. Profit and loss. The goal simply is to make sure that we run events that will not drive us into the red. With growth and increased numbers of competitors, machines strips, staff, referees etc., the size of the venues must increase.   This fact now limits our possible sites and the cities we can travel to. Many people think that if you need more money for the events the answer is to grow the events. Bring in more fencers and you'll bring in more money--but that is not so. Growing the event with more fencers requires more strips, more tournament officials, and more resources to run each tournament each also increasing costs. What we want to do is to manage the size of the events so that we can open more opportunities for sites and locations around more hub cities to lessen the costs of travel and shipping.
  2. This has lead to the development of Regional Open Circuits (ROC'S), with a more formalized regional tournament structure, as we have with the RYCs and SYCs. These regional events help to promote and develop new competitors for clubs and schools. In addition, the ROCs provide more opportunities for our members to fence within their respective strength level and to develop skills to advance. By formalizing, advertizing and supporting the ROCs, these tournaments allow for more competitive bouts for our fencers.
  3. The National Coaches have expressed interest in a schedule that supports developing a competitive environment compatible with the international calendar for Seniors, Veterans, Juniors and Cadets. Two competitive NAC's for each group and a Championship were recommended. One of the suggestions was to add more team competitions for the fencers to have more experience in fencing in a team format, particularly for our younger fencers. In addition, the development of targeted camps for training purposes was explored.
  4. We, as an association, need to develop sponsors and support from corporations and businesses. Most sponsors look to tie their name or image to particular products or services, or to specific events or series of events. Rarely these days does a sponsor want to blanket all levels of development and exposure within a sport but rather specific products and services for different age groups.

Historically the reason that some events were placed at NAC's was due to the fact that we had no other mechanism to operate or develop them. Examples of this are the Division II/III and the Youth 14 NAC. Because there was a void between club, division and national competition it was necessary to develop those events as NAC's to aid in their growth at that time.  As a mechanism to fill the void and create a new middle level of competitive development, the ROC tournaments were introduced. Last year there were 4 ROC's for the Division IA competitions. This year they have grown to 8 competitions. The goal is to introduce and develop Division II/III and Veteran ROC's in the near future to aid in the development of competitors into our national competitive structure.

The 2010-2011 National Tournament calendar was developed as a result of examining these factors:

The creation of four Championships: the Junior Olympics (Junior and Cadet championships and Junior teams) in February; Division I and Wheelchair Championships at the end of April; Youth 10 and Youth 12 Showcase/Youth 14 Championships projected to be held in late May or June (including Youth 14 team events); and Summer Nationals (Division IA, Division II, Division III, Veterans, Veteran Teams and Senior Teams) at the end of June, the beginning of July.

Recently there has been discussion that the introduction of the Veterans events on the ROC level would not serve our Veteran fencers well.  As we have witnessed the growth of the Division IA and the youth events in similar models, we believe that the Veterans participation would increase as a result of our providing more events, with more opportunities to fence under the ROC structure. Because it will require time to develop these structures at this time we should not eliminate the Veteran NAC's or modify the qualifying path to earn a position on the Veterans World Team. We suggest that the ROC's for the Veterans be developed and run in tandem throughout the current season for the Veterans. In addition, on the NAC level the Division II/III should also remain with ROC level competitions for Division II/III to be developed.

We are always open to your suggestions, comments and constructive criticism. We also encourage discussion and input in the process of development of our sport.

Mark Stasinos, Vice- President

Tanya Brown, Tournament Committee Chair
Email with any questions. 


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