VFA Bulletin
February 21, 2022

For this week only (Feb 22 and 24), the Charlotte groups will meet at the Vermont Commons School, 75 Green Mt Drive, S. Burlington. I'm not entirely clear as to which entrance we will use (Kai says he'll be there to show us), but we will be fencing in the common room/auditorium space on the second floor. We will be back at CCS next week (March 1). Remember, practice times are now 7-9 both Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The Middlebury group will meet at the Bridge School as usual this week (no pause for school vacation).

Don't forget to purchase a new punch card when you use yours up.

Exceeding all expectations, attendance at the Charlotte Open was good enough that the collected entry fees will cover all the expenses (gym rental, supplies, medals)! We even raised an extra $105 for the club through the 50/50 raffle. If you were one of the several generous individuals who volunteered to underwrite this tournament if there was a loss, you are off the hook (and thank you again for offering).

Here is the deal: the club is in solid financial shape. We still have nearly $8000 in the bank after the aborted 2020 fund drive leading up to the Middlebury Open That Wasn't. We did not incur a loss for the Charlotte Open, and I expect we will do even better with the next tournament, which is in a less expensive venue and hopefully will build on the enthusiasm for the return of local competitions. So I suggest we have a "soft" fund drive leading up to the Middlebury Open this year. If you offered to underwrite a tournament loss, you do not need to pitch in at this time. But if you feel inclined and your budget allows, I welcome donations to the VFA to help keep us on solid financial ground and able to cover our main expenses (gym rentals and insurance, as well as equipment as needed) without raising club dues. Several of you have already made donations and said "use it for the tournament loss if there is one, or for whatever else the club needs". That is much appreciated! I will not ask you to solicit business sponsors for the Middlebury Open, or run a Go Fund Me campaign this year. But a raffle and food sale at the Middlebury Open would be fun, and in keeping with tradition.

We sold most of the remaining Champlain Cup 2020 t-shirts (featuring Adam Glazer's wonderful artwork) this weekend. I have just 3 left, all size S, for the discounted price of $10. I would love to get rid of them, so let me know if you want one.

Club socks (another popular item at the tournament) are available from me any time, in 4 sizes, $10 per pair. These are good soccer-style socks, with the club logo, suitable for wearing with fencing pants. Let me know if you want me to bring some in for you. Ditto for club patches ($3 each)

It has been a long time since we ordered club sweatshirts and warm up jackets. In the next few weeks, I will try to get updated prices on those and put together an order. More details when I have them.

VFA Competitive Squad t-shirts (featuring the Squaddie Squid - another wonderful Adam Glazer design) are available from the on-demand print service Redbubble. You can get the logo printed on a variety of t-shirts types in several colors. You do not have to be a Squad member to wear one - supporters and future Squaddies are welcome to get them. My favorite is the tri-blend shirt, which is a lightweight wicking fabric: https://www.redbubble.com/i/t-shirt/Vermont-Fencing-Alliance-Competitive-Squad-by-vfacoach/36642653.SWO0S

It's official - two more sanctioned tournaments are booked for this season, as well as the outdoor, unsanctioned Ticonderoga Challenge. Did you have fun at the Charlotte Open? Or maybe regret you missed it? Or just needed a little more time to work up your courage to jump into the local tournament scene? Sign up for these upcoming events!

March 19, Middlebury Union Middle School, Maple Madness. Features open (aka senior mixed) and E-Under foil and epee events. E-Under events are restricted to E and unrated competitors, so a little step up from an Unrated event, but very appropriate and fun for beginning competitors. All events are open to fencers born 2008 or earlier, and require Access or Competitive membership (you can upgrade from noncompetitive any time before the tournament, access membership is affordable and allows you to fence in local tournaments). You may sign up for one morning event and one afternoon event, but not 2 events that start at the same time. Register here:

April 9-10, Middlebury Union Middle School, 27th Edition Middlebury Open. The original flagship tournament of the Green Mt Division, back after a 2 year postponement. Something for everyone: open foil, epee and saber, unrated foil and epee (with separate mens and womens events if we have 6+ of each gender), youth foil and epee (for kids born 2009 or later), and veterans foil and epee (for kids born 1982 or earlier). Foil is on Saturday, epee and saber are on Sunday. Sign up here:

Thanks to a large crew of dedicated volunteers and a good turnout of enthusiastic fencers, including many first time competitors, the Charlotte Open was an unqualified success. The Green Mt Division is back in business!

Congratulations to all the medalists:

Youth Foil (9 competitors)
1 Goldenbogen, Simon VFA
2 Menguc, Eve VFA
3 Macik, Axel VFA
3 May, Francis VFA

Unrated Foil (14 competitors, E1 event)
1 Sise, Camilla PVFA (earned E rating)
2 Puffer, Keith MID VT
3 Gresens, Jacob CDFS
3 Freeman, Erik VFA

Open Foil (15 competitors, D1 event)
1 Toshev, Peter SRN (earned D rating)
2 Hogan, Benjamin VFA
3 Brookes, Scott UVFC/MOE
3 Davis, Rick VFA

Unrated Epee (10 competitors, E1 event)
1 Moeykens, Emmet UVFC (earned E rating)
2 Weston, Henry VFA
3 Ruiz-Warnock, Kosmo VFA
3 May, Ciaran VFA

Open Epee (17 competitors, B1 event)
1 Horak, Peter UNAT/UVFC
2 Brookes, Scott UVFC/MOE
3 Ruggles, Bill UVFC (earned C rating)
3 Elder, Justin SC (earned C rating)

Full results of the tournament can be found here:

Performance of the Week: It's hard to pick just one, but I'm going to go with the espresso-fueled rampage of the Competitive Squad's oldest member, Rick. Rick arrived at 9 a.m to help set up and ref the youth. He fenced in open epee as a lark (his words), and didn't do too badly considering he just recently decided to add epee to his repertoire. As soon as he was done with epee, I put him to work reffing unrated foil. He barely got to sit down before his main event, open foil, started. He was not in my pool but from what I hear (because I have spies everywhere....) he was an absolute tornado. He went undefeated in his pool, including beating a C rated fencer. He won his first 2 DEs fairly comfortably (over unrated fencers, but by no means beginners). He lost in the semifinals to Ben (a former A rated fencer), but it was by no means a blow-out. Rick fought for every touch, was a bundle of energy, and tricky to boot. When the medals were handed out, there were 3 young men in their 30s and one silver-haired Vet70 fencer. He had previously earned his E in 2019 at in a veterans event, but this weekend he re-earned it the hard way, beating out fencers young enough to be his children. (Note on ratings: because one of the higher rated fencers lost in the round of 16 to a lower rated fencer, the foil event was a D1 instead of a C1. Had that not happened, 1st place would have earned a C and 2nd/3rd a D).

Honorable Mentions: I hardly got to watch any epee, as I was reffing or fencing foil all day, so apologies if I fail to recognize a deserving epee fencer here. It was a good day for our teen epee fencers Henry, Ciaran and Kosmo (didn't take Henry long to brush the rust off). Karen did some solid fencing (including beating a D in her pool, and giving the taller and much younger Henry a challenge), was welcoming and supportive as an unofficial ambassador to new competitors, and even willing to fence foil to make up the numbers. It was a pleasure to ref the youth foil - the kids made me proud to be their coach. Universal good sportsmanship, with everyone having fun and trying their best. The exciting 10-9 final bout between Simon and Eve was a glimpse into the future of the VFA! Erik had a successful return to competition after many years off. Although Peter is officially a member of a Montreal-area club, he lives in Burlington and we have had the pleasure of his joining us for practice recently. He is a master of using rhythm changes to surprise his opponent (if you want to understand what I mean when I say "throw some curve balls and some fast balls", watch Peter fence). Finally, hats off to all of our first-time competitors!

A salute: to our friends from the Upper Valley Fencing Club, who had a terrific day. Between some skilled alumni making a homecoming appearance, and the current epee coach Bill and his student Emmet, they hauled in an impressive number of medals. Congratulations especially to Bill on earning his C rating - he has been working hard toward that goal (which has fortunately made him a frequent visitor to VFA practices).

Thank yous: It takes a big team of volunteers to put on a tournament, and the Charlotte Open was exceptionally well run! Thank you to meet managers Michele, Leslyn, Genevieve, Emily and Dierdre, armorers/equipment managers/scorekeepers/and child wranglers John and Don, and refs Ray, Ben, Miranda, Rick, Peter, Viveka, as well as several out of state fencers who pitched in and helped ref (and whoever reffed U epee - I've lost track). If you enjoyed the tournament, here are some great ways to thank the GMD's dedicated volunteers: a. sign up for more tournaments, b. as you develop your fencing skills, also develop your reffing and/or armory (equipment maintenance) and/or meet management skills and pay it forward to the next generation of newbies