Bulletin for the Week of February 20, 2019


I am back from Denver, so Level 3 classes are on this week.
Wed 2/20, 6:30-9 at BRIDGE SCHOOL
Thurs 2/21, 7-9:30 at CCS

Next week:
Middlebury classes as scheduled, 6:30-9 Monday and Wednesday at Mary Hogan School
Charlotte classes will be held 7-9 pm at Shelburne town gym on Tuesday 2/26 (Level 1/2 plus competitive squad) and Thursday 2/28 (Level 3). The Shelburne town gym is located in the old school building across the parking lot from the town hall and library that are under construction (and in the same complex as the fire house and rec fields). When you enter, pass the police department on your left, turn right down the hallway and the gym will be on your right. Please - only clean dry indoor shoes are allowed in this gym. Change shoes before entering.

The 26th annual Middlebury Open is coming up on March 2-3 at the middle school. As the final part of our fundraiser, we would like to offer lots of delicious lunches and snacks to hungry fencers and their fans. The following are always big sellers: baked goods, soups or hot dishes (bring in a crockpot to keep them warm-we do not have kitchen access), sandwiches or wraps.

Thank you to Vicky Skidd and Barbara Greenwalt, our Cafe Queens. They can't do this alone - they need lots of volunteers to bring food and to help sell food, t shirts and raffle tickets. They have set up two sign up sheets. Use one to list what food you plan to donate (so we can have a good range of offerings on both Saturday and Sunday), and the other to sign up for a shift at the concession stand (great job for parents, partners and siblings of fencers). Please sign up as soon as possible, so that Vicky and Barbara are not left hanging, wondering whether we will have enough food and helpers.

Bring/Make Something for the Concession:

Volunteers to run the concession:

Also, have you been selling raffle tickets? The more we sell before the tournament, the better the raffle will do. Grand prize is a fitness tracker, with lots of other fun prizes, winners need not be present. Here again is the link to print raffle tickets:
Raffle Tickets

Among the many goals of the Middlebury Open (celebrating all things fencing in Vermont, raising money, throwing a fun party, offering a spectator-friendly event with exciting high-quality open event finals) perhaps the most important goal is to welcome new fencers into the Green Mt Division tournament community. Without new competitors joining our league, it will wither and die. The Middlebury Open is the best opportunity you will have for the rest of the season to get involved. While there is one more E-under and one more Youth event after this one (in April), plus some other fun stuff (a D-under, and the Ticonderoga Challenge), no other tournament is designed to support and welcome newcomers quite the way the Middlebury Open is. Also, for teens and adults, this is the last strictly Unrated event of this season (E-under is also good for newbies, but Unrated is even better). It is also the only tournament this season that includes veterans events for fencers over 40 (you are very welcome to participate in both Veteran and Unrated events).

Thus far, only one first-time competitor from the VFA has signed up (yay Tim Welch!). I and my large team of volunteers work very hard to put on the Middlebury Open every year. We do it because we really want new fencers in our Champlain Cup league and we want to give you a comforable way to learn about and enjoy tournament fencing. If you appreciate the work we put into organizing tournaments and you want entry-level events for youth and unrated fencers to continue to be offered locally, please demonstrate that by signing up and participating.

I know it can be intimidating to try something challenging for the first time, especially as our culture has trended toward valueing "success" (whatever that is) over enjoyment of the journey and the learning process. I have noticed with every year that passes that it gets harder to convince new students to try competition for the first time - could it be that people have started to think that they don't deserve to participate unless they are "winners" (whatever those are)? That would make me sad. Years of experience have shown me that those who get involved tend to become more enthusiastic about fencing and have more clear goals, while those who never try tournament fencing tend to drift away. I respect you more for setting your feet on a life-long learning path (hey, I'm still on that path after 40+ years of fencing) than I do for achieving any kind of instant success. End of philosophical rant...here is how to sign up:

Teen and Adult fencers (born 2005 or earlier)
-If you are not already a competitive USFA member, you need to make an upgrade. This costs $65 and is good for the rest of the season (all memberships expire July 31). You can do this on line (www.usafencing.org, click on "membership" and log in). If you do not know your membership number or password (often true for first timers), the easiest way to upgrade is to phone the national office at 719.866.4511 (it's in Colorado, 2 hour time difference). Tell them you wish to upgrade from noncompetitive to competitive membership, and that your club is Vt Fencing Alliance and your division is Green Mt. They will do it for you instantly over the phone, and also help you reset your password so you can manage your membership on line in the future.
-Sign up for the events you wish to participate in on AskFRED (link below). Definitely Unrated (choose mens or womens foil or epee - or do both weapons, they are on different days). You may also want to get more fencing in by signing up for open (senior mixed) events (as long as you don't mind fencing more experienced competitors), or for veteran events if you are old enough (I definitely recommend that - vet events are fun and friendly, and it's great to play with kids your own age!).

Youth fencers (born 2006 or later)
-You do not need a competitive membership for these. Just sign up and come!
-Sign up for the events you wish to participate in on AskFRED (link below). Youth events are labeled "Y10Y12". You may do foil, epee or both (they are on different days).

Loaner equipment is available for all newbies who need it, and who sign up in time.

Please, please, please....sign up sooner rather than later. I use the AskFRED lists to plan for equipment and refs. Please don't leave me scrambling because you waited until the last minute to sign up. Also, you get a discount for signing up by this Monday. Not sure whether you can make it? Sign up now, and take your name off the list if you change your mind.

Entry fees for the Middlebury Open:
-Anyone who raises $50 or more in sponsorships and/or raffle ticket sales before the tournament - free!
-Those who sign up by midnight Monday 2/25: $15 for your first event of the weekend, plus $5 per additional event
-Late registration (after Monday): $20 for your first event of the weekend, plus $10 per additional event

To register, get directions, see the event times, see who else is coming:

New to using AskFRED? Get directions here:

It was a pleasure to travel with the Green Mt Division team (all VFA fencers this year) to the national Junior Olympic championships in Denver. The VFA kids were full of enthusiasm and super supportive of each other all weekend, so win or lose, they all came away from the experience as better fencers.

Every year, this event gets larger (it's the biggest junior fencing tournament in the world) and tougher (hundreds of A and B rated fencers in every event). In events that are so large and so competitive, the best measure of success for small town fencers like us is to see how we do against expectations based on ratings. At the start of each event, fencers are seeded by national points and letter rating. That gives you a benchmark to compare your performance to. In a sport that has come to be increasingly dominated by elite clubs from major metropolitan areas, finishing on par is pretty satisfying for a Vermont fencer, and finishing above par is fantastic. Junior events are for ages 13-19, while cadet is ages 13-16.

Junior Mens Epee (344 competitors)
Peter Wolosinski (C rated) - expected placement 212-278, actual placement 151
Ryan Bagley (B rated)-expected placement 134-211, actual placement 174
Will Nop (D rated)-expected placement 279-313, actual placement 300

Junior Mens Foil (319 competitors)
Alex Yaggy (E rated)-expected placement 274-303, actual placement 299

Junior Womens Foil (239 competitors)
Isidora Bailly-Hall (D rated)-expected placement 162-197, actual placement 220

Cadet Mens Epee (305 competitors)
Will Nop (D rated)-expected placement 183-225, actual placement 181
Peter Wolosinski (C rated)-expected placement 120-182, actual placement 256
Henry Weston (unrated)-expected placement 266-305, actual placement 277
Robbie Kite (unrated)-expected placement 266-305, actual placement 304

Cadet Mens Foil (307 competitors)
Alex Yaggy (E rated)-expected placement 224-269, actual placement 291

Performance of the Week: In Jr Mens Epee, Peter went 4-2 in his pool, defeating 2 As plus a D and an E rated fencer, and losing 5-4 to a B and 5-3 to the A-rated fencer who went on to win the cadet event. Because it was the first event of the weekend and Peter had no great expectations for himself other than to enjoy the bouts and get some good experience, he fenced with great courage and freedom. He was aggressive (great toe touches!) and tricky, asserting himself and forcing his opponents to follow his lead. He fenced for each point as if it was the only one that mattered. He lost his first DE 15-12 to a B-rated fencer.

Want to know more about JOs and what it's like to experience them? Ask a Junior Olympian! They have lots of stories to tell.