Bulletin for the week of October 28, 2019


This week's practice schedule is normal, including Thursday (Halloween). Level 3 fencers from Charlotte who are involved in Halloween fun are very welcome to catch the class on Wednesday in Middlebury instead.

Next week, the Tuesday Nov 5 practice (Level 1/2 class and Competitive Squad) will take place in the Shelburne town gym, from 7-9 pm (note later than usual start). The town gym is located in the old school building (which also houses the town offices and police station). The building is next to Schip's Treasure thrift store and shares a parking lot with the town library, fire station and ballfields. Enter the door nearest Schip's Treasure, turn down the first hallway to your right, and you will see the gym. Please - clean indoor shoes only in the gym (Shelburne town policy).

This week, I will continue to introduce newer fencers to the use of electric equipment after class. I encourage you to stay as late as you can to try this out (the group that did it last week had a blast!).
Here is who I am bringing equipment for this week.
Monday (Middlebury): Eve, Elinor, Jonathan, Cullen, Peter, Jayden
Tuesday (Charlotte): Merren, Lucas, Simon, Marianne, Amelie, Yuri

"Armory" is the fancy fencing word for "fixing broken equipment". Specifically, electric weapons and body cords. Even the best quality electric equipment eventually breaks. There are no repair shops for this stuff. Part of fencing with electric equipment is learning to fix it!

Once a season, I offer an armory workshop at my house, where we learn to troubleshoot electric fencing equipment, and go through how to rewire a foil and an epee.
When: Sunday Nov 3, 2-5 p.m (note, daylight savings time ends this weekend)
Where: Viveka's house, 1379 Mountain Rd, Addison VT (red house with wooden mailbox)

Who should come to this?
-Anyone who has broken equipment they don't know how to fix (bring it!)
-Anyone who has new electric equipment (or plans to get some this season), as sooner or later you will need to fix it
-Anyone who is curious about how electric fencing equipment works, or who likes to tinker
-Parents of younger fencers (since helping them maintain their equipment is a great way to support them)
-So really, anyone who needs to or wants to!

Help me know how many to expect by signing up here (parents coming with kids, just sign your kid up and tag along):

New to using AskFRED? You are going to need an account sooner or later. Here is how to create one:
Once you have an account, go to the link above and register yourself.

On Saturday Nov 16, the VFA is hosting an unsanctioned, just-for-fun tournament for every single VFA fencer, including current Level 1 students. It will take place at Mary Hogan School in Middlebury. My goals in hosting this tournament (experienced fencers note, I can't do this alone, your help is required!):
-Introduce newbie fencers to tournament fencing in an informal, low-pressure environment
-Allow new teen and adult fencers to try a tournament without having to pay for competitive level USFA membership (note: our local youth events never required competitive membership, but for teens and adults who enjoy the experience, you will need to make the $65 upgrade before your next tournament)
-Allow experienced fencers to get to know the newbies in their age group, mentor them, and serve as examples of what good fencing looks like
-Make new friends and become part of the Green Mt Division fencing community (there will be a social hour at the end of the day, consider yourself invited!)

Fencers at this tournament will be divided up by age group based on the year you were born.
YOUTH: Born 2007 or later
TEEN: Born 2000-2006
ADULT: Born 1999 or earlier

Event Schedule:
10 a.m TEEN foil
11:30 am YOUTH foil
1 pm YOUTH epee
1 pm ADULT foil and epee
2 pm TEEN epee

You may enter both foil and epee if you wish (even adults - the round robin format allows scope for fencing both as long as you have a lot of energy and are willing to switch back and forth). Never fenced epee? Feel free to jump in and try it if you want to. The basic moves are the same (or similar) so even Level 1 students already know enough to pick up an epee and experiment with it. You could even ask an epee fencer to give you a few pointers during open fencing the next few weeks. The club has a bag of epees waiting for you to try them any time!

Entry fees (payable at the door)
If signed up on AskFRED by Nov 11: $15 for one weapon or $20 for both
If signed up after Nov 11: $20 for one weapon or $30 for both

Loaner equipment will be available for fencers who need it, but if unless you own all of your own equipment (including electric) your name needs to be on the sign up list no later than Nov 11 (might as well get that discount too, right?)

Early registration is very important, especially for fencers who need to borrow equipment or who are too new to ref bouts for peers (i.e. Level 1 and 2 students). I need to know well in advance who is coming so I can plan for equipment and refs. So please, please, please, don't wait until Nov 11 to register, do it this week (you can always take your name off the list if plans change).

To sign up, get directions and see who else is coming:

New to using AskFRED? Find instructions on how to create an account and sign up for things here:

Most Olympic sports in the USA hold a national Junior Olympics event. Unlike the real Olympics, each sport takes place at a different time in a different city, and these are not international events (in fact they are restricted to US citizens and permanent residents). In fencing, our JOs also serves as our junior national championship and is the final selection event for junior world championships. This year's fencing JOs will take place February 14-17 in Columbus OH.

Elite-level fencers who are on the national points list (top 32 finish at a North American Circuit event) qualify automatically. It is also possible to qualify by earning a certain number of points at Regional Open (ROC) and Regional Junior (RJCC) events. Our region includes all of the New England states, New York and New Jersey. However, most fencers who participate in JOs qualify through their division. Each USFA division (in our case, the Green Mt Division) is required to offer a qualifier tournament each fall. In the qualifier, separate events are offered for men and women (mixed events are not allowed), in each weapon, and in two age groups (Junior=birth years 2000-2006, Cadet = birth years 2003-06). Cadets (younger teens) may enter Junior events, but older teens may not enter Cadet events. For each event, a minimum of 3 fencers always qualify. If more than 12 compete in a particular event, 25% of the field qualifies.

In past years, the GMD had larger, more competitive JO Qualifier events, but the field has been significantly reduced over the past 10 years or so. Partly this is a declining youth population in Vermont, partly that teens lead busier lives and find it harder to commit to the training required, partly that kids specialize earlier in other sports that take up their time, and partly that several clubs that previously sent a number of fencers to GMD JO qualifiers either no longer exist or no longer have as many competitive teen fencers. Since this is the case, rather than lose money by renting a gym for a day and only having a handful of teens show up, we are trying something different this year. We are going to hold qualifier events only for those events where 4 or more teens have registered by November 11. I anticipate that we will only need a few events (mens epee, maybe mens foil) and that they will be small enough to dovetail with the larger, mixed gender and mixed skill level Age Group Fencerama, to be held the same day.

So....who should sign up for JO Qualifers?
-Any teen members of the Competitive Squad (note: also sign up for Age Group Fencerama)
-Any teen with a rating (note: also sign up for Age Group Fencerama)
-Any teen in Level 3 classes who wants to take a shot at it (note: also sign up for Age Group Fencerama)
-Only fencers who think they might actually be interested in going to Columbus and participating in JOs. Signing up for the qualifier does not oblige you to go to JOs, but if you are absolutely certain that you are not ready, not available, or not interested in spending the training time and the money (it's not cheap) to compete at JOs, don't sign up for the qualifier (but do sign up for teen event at Age Group Fencerama). If you are on the fence (so to speak), do sign up.
-Unrated fencers with little to no competitive experience: you are probably not ready to get much out of going to a national championship. Sign up for Teen events at Age Group Fencerama instead.

Please, do me a favor - the sooner I know the maximum number of fencers to expect, the easier it will be for me to plan for this. So if you are not certain whether you want to try out for JOs, sign up anyway. You can always remove your name from the list later if you change your mind. I would prefer you did this (like, this week....), rather than wait until Nov 11 to sign up. Registration closes on Nov 11, and it will not be possible to sign up after that.

Event times posted on the AskFRED page are provisional, and will be adjusted once registration closes. If you sign up for an event and it has 3 or fewer fencers signed up, you qualify for JOs in that event automatically.

Register here:

The second Champlain Cup tournament of the season, the 2019 Burlington Brawl, took place at UVM on Saturday. The epee events were truly international, with not only several Canadian fencers, but a strong contingent of Columbian fencers doing some kind of training residency at Olympia FC in Boston, along with their ex-Olympian coach (who won the open epee event). Congratulations to all the finalists!

Open Foil (8 competitors, E1 event)
1 Fox, Viveka VFA
2 Elder, Justin SC
3 Borgal, Cameron UNH
3 Johnson, Daniel SC

Open Saber (8 competitors, E1 event)
1 McGrath, Maximillian VTFC/SC - earned E rating
2 Borgal, Cameron UNH
3 D'Souza, Charlie Unat
3 Pawlowski, Matthew SC

Open Epee (32 competitors, B2 event)
1 Gonzalez, William OLYMPIAFC -earned B rating
2 Sumler, Jeffery MFA
3 Wolosinski, Peter VFA
3 Mackin, Samuel MFA
5 Rivait, Birk SC
6 Johnson, Daniel SC
7 Caron, Diane ESQ1 - earned D rating
8 Duffy, Gerald MFA

E-Under Foil (7 competitors, E1 event)
1 Kaplan, Isa VFA
2 Weeks, Adeline SC
3 Cook, Ethan VFA
3 Parris, Tom VFA

E-Under Epee (17 competitors, D1 event)
1 Salazar Aldana, Susana OLYMPIAFC -earned D rating
2 Jimenez Vasquez, Sara OLYMPIAFC - earned E rating
3 Vrabie, Isaiah UNAT
3 Pease, Calvin SC - earned E rating
5 Piedrahita Gomez, Alejandra OLYMPIAFC
6 Moeykens, Emmet UVFC
7 Herzog, Nate VFA
8 Houst, Michael SFC

Performance of the Week: As the only VFA fencer to medal in the highly competitive open epee event, Peter clearly deserves this. He went undefeated in his pool, with only one fencer (another lefty) getting more than 2 points on him. He went undefeated in his pool, and won 3 DEs by a comfortable margin before falling to the eventual winner. Unfortunately, I wasn't there to tell you more about it, so next time you see Peter, ask him "What was the secret to your success?". You might learn something from his answer!

Honorable Mentions: Don won 4 out of 4 la belle (5-4) bouts in his epee pool. Isa lost one pool bout in E-under foil, but won the rematch (the gold medal bout) comfortably at 15-5, so he made a good adjustment. The come-back of the day belonged to Ray. He started his foil pool bout with me being a little lazy, letting me run the show, and fell behind 4-0. But rather than give up, he decided to really get focussed, and he remembered that he usually does better against me when he attacks rather than allows me to attack. So he picked up the pace and began making fast fleches from the correct distance to hit. His 5-4 victory was my only loss of the event.