Bulletin for the Week of February 4, 2019


Hoping for a normal week again, with no weather interruptions. Remember, all practices start at 6:30 except Thursday (Charlotte Level 3, which starts at 7).

Feb 11 and 12: Level 1/2 classes as normal
Feb 13 and 14: No fencing, no Level 3 classes, I am in Denver for Jr Olympics
Mon Feb 18: Level 1/2 class at Bridge School, with guest coach Geoff Butler plus the usual crew of teaching assistants. Open fencing for Squaddies, but no organized CS practice (lessons with Geoff available after class)
Tues Feb 19: Level 1/2 class at CCS, with guest coach Geoff Butler plus the usual crew of teaching assistants. Open fencing for Squaddies, but no organized CS practice (lessons with Geoff available after class)
Wed Feb 20: Level 3 class at Bridge School (I will be back)
Thurs Feb 21: Level 3 at CCS, as usual

The Champlain Cup t-shirt is going out to print tomorrow morning. This is a final check to make sure that all sponsors who wish to be listed on the back of the t-shirt are (and that names are correct). If you know of a pledged sponsor or raffle prize donor who is not on this list (even if you haven't collected money or an ad from them yet), please notify me immediately of the sponsor name and pledged amount. Thank you again to everyone who either found sponsors or are sponsors!

Business sponsors: American Flatbread, Birdseye Building Co., Depot Farm Supply, Hamsterdam Farm, Introl Systems, Middlebury Eye Associates, Middlebury Physical Therapy, Monroe St Books, Nop's MetalWorks, Project Y Theatre Co, Redstone Research, SLP Paintin, Taylor Rental, Tinker and Smithy Game Store, Vermont Sun

Families and individuals: Bendoski Family, Colt&Cutler Family, Cynthia Marshall, Flynn Family, Greenewalt-Weston Family, Induni Family, Jesse Lussier, Kris Marshall, Opal Bruce, Pasquence Family, Tamas-Parris Family

Raffle prize donors: Flying Pig Bookstore, Forth n' Goal Sports, Justin Yaggy, Marquis Theater, Middlebury Fitness, Palmer's Sugar House, Don Selby

We are still looking for lots more raffle prizes, so if you have something nice to donate, bring it to Karen or me. The grand prize will be a fitness tracker (FitBit or something similar). The more raffle tickets we sell before the Middlebury Open, the better, especially as attendance at the tournament might be impacted by weather (we have been lucky so far!) so we can't rely entirely on sales there. So, follow this link to download tickets, cut them up and sell them to everyone and anyone (winners need not be present)!

This fall, one of the Squaddies told me "every time you call us Squaddies, I have nightmare visions of a giant sword-wielding squid." The immediate response from our amazing in-house artist Adam Glazer was "I can draw that." Adam's fierce giant sword-wielding squid (epees, foils, and a pirate cutlass for good measure) is now available on a range of t-shirts and sweatshirts! We have opted to use the print-on-demand service Redbubble rather have to stock inventory. Redbubble allows you to print Adam's fantastic design on any of the shirts they offer as well as on stickers. Adam recommends that his black and white artwork will look best on a light colored shirt so please choose your color accordingly (Redbubble lets you see what it would look like on the various color apparel available). The design will remain available on Redbubble into the future, so fencers can order any time they want (gift idea for your favorite fencer!). A small cut of each sale goes to the VFA as a fundraiser. Note that the prices listed on Redbubble do not include shipping and sales tax (which are added at check out). You might be able to save a little on shipping by getting together with friends and ordering one shipment together. While this shirt was designed with the Competitive Squad in mind, you do not have to be a Squaddie to buy one. We welcome anyone who wants to order.

To order, go to www.redbubble.com.
Search for "Vermont Fencing Alliance". You will see a preview of the design on a regular white t shirt. If you click that, you can explore all of the various products (mens, womens, long sleeve, tank, technical wicking t, sweatshirts, hoodies) and color options.

Note that these shirts are in addition to the 2019 Champlain Cup t-shirt (Jessica Hill's colorful Champ design with sponsor names on back). The Champlain Cup t-shirts will be available for sale at the Middlebury Open (and after until they are all gone).

Also note that I still have plenty of club socks ($12) and patches ($3) that I would be happy to bring in for you any time you want them.

The 26th annual Middlebury Open is coming up on March 2-3 at Middlebury Union Middle School. As the only person who has been to 25 of these so far, I will say that this is my favorite fencing tournament in the world. It’s a real festival of fencing, with events for all ages and skill levels, and it’s a party, with spectator-friendly programs, food, raffle, and t-shirts. Having been forced by injury to sit on the sidelines a couple years ago, I can tell you - it’s more fun to play than to be a spectator. Foil events are on Saturday and epee and saber events are on Sunday. Here are the types of events:

YOUTH (Y12) foil and epee: Open to kids born 2006 or later. Competitive USFA membership not required, beginner and first-time competitors welcome (including members of the winter Level 1 class). Supportive and fun for our youngest fencers.
VETERANS (VetCombined) foil and epee: Open to fencers born 1979 or before. Because it’s fun for adults to play with kids their own age too! In the fencing world, we use the word “veteran” to describe masters athletes (because a fencing master is a teacher…confusing, I know). It has nothing to do with having lots of previous competitive experience (although many vets do), or with having served in the military. If you are old enough to participate in this, no matter your skill level (including current Level 1 students), we want you to sign up!
UNRATED: For fencers born 2005 or before, who have not yet earned a rating. These are the perfect events for first-time and other newbie competitors (including current Level 1 students) to get an introduction to tournament fencing under the guidance of experienced refs. There will be separate male and female foil and epee events, unless there are fewer than 6 of one or both genders (I sure hope we can do a lot better than 6 people, really!).
OPEN (Senior Mixed) foil, epee and saber: For all fencers born 2005 or before. Note that the open foil and open epee events are capped at 54, and a few other events are capped as well (although less likely to fill). The past few years, we have had waiting lists for open epee. So sign up early to guarantee your place in this tournament.

Will the Middlebury Open be your first tournament? Here’s what you need to know:
a. The local Green Mt Division (our branch of US Fencing) is one of the friendliest anywhere, and truly supportive of newbies and recreational athletes. We are not just about producing elite athletes - we believe everyone should enjoy the physical and social benefits of lifelong participation in sports. We run a fencing league, called the Champlain Cup, which features one or two tournaments a month, with the Middlebury Open being the oldest and largest.
b. Would you join a tennis club or basketball league in order to practice, but never play in any games? Tournaments are our games. They give us goals to work toward. My experience has shown that people who get involved in Champlain Cup tournaments tend to stick with fencing longer and get more out of it than those who never participate in tournaments. So while you are welcome to fence only at the VFA, you will get a lot of enthusiasm and encouragement from me to eventually get involved in the Champlain Cup.
c. You are ready for your first tournament when you have learned a basic repertoire of moves (mastery is not required or expected at this point!), have a basic understanding of the rules, and have experienced some practice bouts in the club. For current Level 1 students, all of this will be true by March if you are coming to classes regularly this winter. I will also add this for children: you also need the emotional maturity to handle winning and losing with good sportsmanship, and the intensity of a sport where your own body is the target. Different kids arrive at this point at different ages.
d. All teen and adult competitors (born 2005 or earlier) in all Champlain Cup events must be competitive members of US Fencing. If you are currently a noncompetitive member (all Level 1 and some current Level 2 students), you will need to upgrade to competitive status in order to participate. This must be done on line or over the phone, at least several days in advance of the first tournament you want to participate in. The cost is $65. Here’s the twist: all USFA memberships expire July 31, except if you upgrade to competitive status for the first time after April 1. In that case (spring upgrade), your membership is good through all of next season (until July 2020). The Middlebury Open falls at an awkward time of year - you get better value for your money if you wait until spring, but then you can’t compete in the Middlebury Open. Whether you upgrade now or in the spring, there will be several tournaments in April and May for you to participate in. Membership status is not an issue for youth events, as they do not require it.
e. You do not have to own your own equipment-as long as you sign up by February 25, loaners will be available for you.

Middlebury Open entry fees: $15 for your first event of the weekend, plus $5 per additional event, if registered by Monday, February 25 (although I recommend signing up much sooner than that, as some events may fill up). Entry fee for late registration is $20 first event/$10 per additional event. Or, you can raise $50 or more in sponsorships and/or raffle ticket sales before the tournament, and fence for free!

To register, get directions, see the event times, see who else is coming: https://askfred.net/Events/whoIsComing.php?tournament_id=41587

New to using AskFRED? You will first need to create an account. List your club as Vermont Fencing Alliance and your division as Green Mt. Once you are in the database, it is very easy to sign up for future tournaments. If you are having trouble figuring out how to create an account, look here for directions:

Thank you to the UVM fencing club (Salle Catamount) for hosting the 2019 Groundhog Open yesterday. Numbers were small (bad weather, a tournament the day before in a neighboring state, maybe some confusion about exact location) but those who came got in some good fencing. Congratulations to the winners!

Open Foil (7 competitors, E1 event)
1 Brookes, Scott MOE FC
2 Snow, Malachy SC
3 Brideau, Justin SC
3 Yaggy, Alexander VFA

Open Saber (5 competitors)
1 Pawlowski, Matthew SC
2 Schuppe, Ray VFA

Open Epee (22 competitors, C1 event)
1 Bagley, Ryan VFA
2 Nop, Will VFA
3 Lussier, Jesse VFA
3 Greenwood, Seamus VFA
5 Wolosinski, Peter VFA
6 Sironi, Gage SC - earned E rating
7 Jin, Owen CAVALIER
8 Schuppe, Ray VFA

E-Under Epee (15 competitors, D1 event)
1 Jin, Owen CAVALIER - earned D rating
2 Vaudrin, Jean-Claude UNAT
3 Fodor, Chris VFA
3 Kane, Garrett VFA

E-Under Foil (6 competitors, E1 event)
1 Musto, Isabella MFA - earned E rating
2 Yaggy, Alexander VFA
3 Graham, Nancy VFA
3 Parris, Tom VFA

Performance of the Week: It has been a long time since the VFA swept the medals in an Open event, but Ryan, Will, Jesse and Seamus did it yesterday! Ryan led the charge, losing only one pool bout (5-4 to Jesse) and widening his lead in this year's Champlain Cup points race. He was light on his feet, quick and creative, scoring points on all parts of his opponents' targets. Jesse has gone from having an occasional good day to being a regular finalist this season. Has a knack for making himself look unthreatening, sneaking into critical distance, and then either attacking smoothly or inviting his opponent's attack and scoring on a counterattack or riposte. He has turned apparent harmlessness into a weapon. Will and Seamus were the surprise medalists after pulling off some gutsy upsets. As D rated fencers in a field that contained 3 Bs and 6 Cs, they begain the day with some tough pools and entered DEs seeded 12th (Will) and 18th (Seamus). They both met B rated fencers in the round of 16. Will faced the #5 seed, and defeated him 15-10 with athleticism, focus and quick reactions to openings. He continued the strong fencing to defeat a C-rated veteran in the round of 8 and to beat Jesse (also a C) in the semifinal, before giving Ryan a good run for his money. Seamus faced the #2 seed in the round of 16 and used his patience, ability to predict and dodge attacks, and ability to get his point on for a double touch no matter what, to take away his opponent's confidence, force the bout into overtime at 12-12, and exploit his opponent's nerves for the final touch. And then he did it again in the round of 8. With neither fencer wishing to risk an attack, the ref called passivity 3 times, condensing the entire bout into a 1 minute overtime period (with passivity, overtime is not sudden death). He then scored a single touch, followed by 7 doubles and one more single as his increasingly desperate opponent charged at him from out of distance. Seamus gets the "most improved" award for this season so far - he earned his E in October, his D in December (in an E-under event) and yesterday earned his first medal (and re-earned his D) in an Open event. Had only Seamus or only Will knocked out a B early on, the other would have earned his C yesterday. Since they both decided to be brilliant on the same day, there was only one B (Ryan) in the final 8, making it a C1 event. Such is the luck of the draw in fencing!

Speaking of Champlain Cup points: We are more than half way through the season. Fencers in the league earn points for every event they participate in, plus bonus points for high placement (the tougher the event, the more bonus points available). At the end of the season, we give trophies to the top 3 in each weapon. The 1st place winners get their names engraved on the Champlain Cup perpetual trophy (yes, there is an actual cup!). In addition there are awards for best youth, best veteran, rookie of the year, and the Leaders Sword for the person with the most combined points. Want to see the standings so far? Look here:
Foil https://askfred.net/Results/plist.php?list_id=3791
Epee https://askfred.net/Results/plist.php?list_id=3790
Saber https://askfred.net/Results/plist.php?list_id=3792