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USA Fencing Announces Tournament Improvement Plan

03/14/2014, 11:15am CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

USA Fencing is pleased to announce a three-year Tournament Improvement Plan, focusing on both regional and national events, that will kick off during the 2014-2015 season.

The Tournament Improvement Plan is a collaborative effort created by the USA Fencing National Office and the TIP Working Group - a collection of 17 individuals that included club and national team coaches, athlete representatives, club owners, regional event organizers, board members and national office staff that held two in-person working sessions as well as multiple virtual meetings over a five month period

"We have had a great deal of growth, both within our membership as a whole as well as in the size of our national tournaments and this new plan will help create a better tournament experience for competitors, spectators and staff as well as improve our tournament infrastructure at all levels," said USA Fencing Executive Director Kris Ekeren (Littleton, Colo.) "Thank you to everyone who helped provide feedback during the TIP creation process. We had a great cross-section of the USA Fencing family that put countless hours into this project and everyone provided great insight along the way." 

The Tournament Improvement Plan (click here to view) includes changes to the qualification paths for USA Fencing's national tournaments as well as the creation of new regional competition opportunities for junior and cadet athletes with the goal of holding 6-10 junior and cadet regional events throughout the country during the 2014-2015 season.

"As fencing continues to grow in the United States, thousands of new athletes are being introduced each year to the sport and we've received feedback from the membership that there aren't enough competition opportunities for young athletes at the regional level. These new regional tournaments for juniors and cadets will help expand opportunities and create a more structured pipeline for athletes looking to compete in national events down the road," said USA Fencing Director of Operations Christy Simmons (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

Beginning with the 2014-2015 season, Points Based Qualification (PBQ) will be used for all National Championship tournaments, which includes: 

  • Junior Olympic Fencing Championships
  • Division I National Championships
  • USA Fencing National Championships

There have been no changes to the qualification path for the Wheelchair National Championships.

Click here to view information regarding how each competitive group will be affected by Points Based Qualification.

"Once the regional infrastructure is fully in place with additional ROCs, junior and cadet regional events, RYCs and SYCs, then the determination will be made as to the best timeline to implement points based qualification at other USA Fencing national level competitions," Simmons said.

In addition, a new competition opportunity has been created for Y10 and Y12 athletes who will now have National Championship events during the Summer Nationals. This championship will replace the Y10 and Y12 July NAC.

During the past week, USA Fencing has held two open conference calls with the membership to answer questions on the Tournament Improvement Plan and responded to questions and feedback from our members as well.

Most of the questions we received were about the Championship qualifying paths and the number of junior and cadet regional events that will be added in 2014-15. There were also questions about how PBQ will be implemented for other tournaments in the future.

"Thank you to all of our members who took time to call or e-mail in and ask questions and provide feedback on the Tip program. Your feedback is always valuable and will help us as we go forward in the implementation of this plan over the next three years," Simmons said.

Click here to view answers to some of the most Frequently Asked Questions about the TIP program.

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