Bulletin for the Week of January 1, 2019


Happy new year, fencers! Level 3 winter classes start this Wednesday (Jan 2) and Thursday (Jan 3). Level 1 and 2 classes start next Monday (Jan 7) in Middlebury and Tuesday (Jan 8) in Charlotte.

Practice times are 6:30-9 in Middlebury, and 7:30-9:30 in Charlotte.

Attention Charlotte fencers: As soon as town rec basketball season ends, or if we find out that basketball is not in fact using the gym until 7:30, we will move the Charlotte practices back to an earlier time frame. It may be a moving target for a while, so please keep an eye on your weekly bulletin for announcements.

Attention Middlebury fencers: Mary Hogan School is closed on Monday Jan 14 and Monday Jan 21. For those two Mondays, practice will be held at the Bridge School (1469 Exchange St, Middlebury).

It is important to start classes on time - especially in Charlotte, where the start time is already quite late and practice time is shorter. Please arrive early enough that you are dressed and ready to begin right at the scheduled time.

Did you get some new fencing gear for the holidays? Make sure to put your name on everything you own, before you bring it in to the club! A lot of equipment looks alike, and you have a much better chance of getting lost stuff returned if it's labeled.

Are you a returning fencer who still needs to rent equipment? At present, I am reserving equipment for the returning fencers listed below (in addition to the new club members who have signed up). If your name is not on this list and you wish to rent, please email and let me know as soon as possible.
Middlebury: Samantha, Elsa, Kirin, Gabe
Charlotte: Benjamin, Wylie, Carrie

Now that winter is here, please make sure not to track snow, water or mud on to the gym floor. Remove boots outside of the gym and change into your fencing shoes. In Charlotte, please bring your boots into the gym with you-don't leave them in the hallway as they will be in the way of the custodian.

If we need to cancel practice due to winter weather, I will send an e-mail using this bulletin list by 4 p.m. If you can not check your e-mail then, please call me and confirm there is practice before driving in bad weather (802-759-2268). Snow days will be made up in March if needed.

At present, I have had only 1 new student sign up for Level 1, as well as a couple of folks who fenced in college and will probably join Level 2. I would love to have a whole bunch more new club members. It’s not too late to join, so please spread the word to your friends who are looking for an engaging way to meet their fitness goals for the new year! Also, if you an help post an ad in Front Porch Forum (possibly our most effective, and free, advertising tool) please let me know and I can send you a blurb to post (I already did Vergennes, my own FPF).

It's that time of year again - time for the annual VFA fund drive! Between now and the 26th Annual Middlebury Open on March 2-3, we need to raise most of our operating budget for next season. This money is used for maintaining and replacing club equipment, subsidizing the cost of gym rental, scholarships for low-income students to take our classes, financial aid for qualified athletes to travel to regional and national competitions and camps, and rewarding our assistant coaches (in the form of modest credits that they can use for fencing expenses). Our goal is to raise $4000+, which we should be able to do easily if everyone pitches in. The fund drive is especially important this year. With the launch of the new Competitive Squad program, we have additional expenses (Geoff's time, additional space for private lessons, and more Squaddies taking advantage of the opportunity to earn teaching credits). While we are certainly not broke (we have about $2700 in the club account as of today), our balance is the lowest it has been in about 5 years. So please, I am counting on all of you to help however you can: get (or purchase) sponsorships, sell (and buy) raffle tickets, volunteer.

The majority of our fundraising comes from sponsorships given by local businesses and civic organizations. For a donation of $25-$100 they get an ad in the Middlebury Open program (bigger donation=larger ad) and a listing on the 2019 Champlain Cup t-shirt. In the next week or so, I will email sponsorship forms to you. Print or forward as many as you like and ask your favorite businesses and organizations to sponsor us. The more you ask, the more likely you are to succeed. Sponsorships must be turned in by Feb. 1 in order to make it onto the t-shirt, so get started! Anyone who raises $50+ fences for free in the Middlebury Open.

In addition to sponsorships, we always have a raffle. I am looking for a volunteer (or small team of volunteers) to serve as Raffle Czar (help organize raffle, select a grand prize, help collect tickets and money). Can you donate a prize for the raffle? Nice things that anyone would want, or fencing-specific prizes are welcome (but no white elephants please).

Do you have some artistic or graphic design skills? Unleash your creativity and design this year's Champlain Cup t-shirt! I am looking for an eye-catching logo that captures the excitement or beauty of fencing, up to 3 colors on any color t-shirt the artist chooses. T-shirt designer gets a free shirt and lots of gratitude from the club.

I am looking for a volunteer or several to coordinate refreshment sales at the Middlebury Open. Please let me know if you want to be the Cafe King or Queen! It’s a great job for a parent or spouse who will not be competing over the weekend.

So: How will you help? Raffle, t-shirt design, concessions? Please let me know!

The VFA is hosting the next Champlain Cup tournament, the 2019 MidWinter Melee, on Saturday Jan. 12 at Mary Hogan School in Middlebury.

Event Schedule
10 a.m Open (Senior Mixed) Epee
10:30 a.m Youth (Y10-Y12) Foil
12 pm Open Saber
1 p.m Youth (Y10-Y12) Epee
1:30 pm Open (Senior Mixed) Foil

Youth events are open to all kids born 2006 or later. Competitive USFA membership is not required for Youth Events. Loaner equipment (including electric) is available for all who need it, as long as you sign up by Jan 9 (but really, please sign up by Jan 7, not only is it super helpful to me in planning, but you get a discounted entry fee). The October youth events in Middlebury were great - I hope to see even more kids coming out for this one!

Open events are open to all fencers born 2005 or earlier. Competitive USFA membership is required.

Entry fees if registered by midnight January 7: $15 for your first event plus $5 per additional event. Late registrations (after Jan 7): $20 for your first event plus $10 per additional event. Have I mentioned that early registration really helps me plan the tournament?

To register, see who else is coming, get directions, etc: https://askfred.net/Events/whoIsComing.php?tournament_id=41585

December NAC (North American Circuit) Vet50 (age 50-59) Womens Foil (26 competitors, B1 event)
1. Viveka Fox....earned B rating

Performance of the Week: Every now and then I award this to myself. I'm feeling pretty happy about winning my first national veterans event, so I'll indulge in a little bragging. I was seeded 14th at the start of the competition in Cincinnati, having only participated in one NAC (5th place last April) during my nearly two years of knee injury rehab, so therefore being pretty low in point standings in my age group. I went 3-2 in my pool: dropped two 5-4 bouts (one to an experienced competitor, the other from just being lazy against a really aggressive but less experienced competitor). I was seeded 10th into DEs. After an easy victory against an unrated competitor, I faced seed #7, a longtime (friendly) rival in the round of 16. She is a smart (not to mention really tall) fencer who has beaten me most of the times we have met. However, she was still recovering from her own knee surgery (such is the life of we older fencers....) and not able to carry out her usual long attacks. Instead, she put pressure on me with multiple feints, trying to set up a second intention. I realized that if I allowed her to manipulate me, I would lose. I took the initiative and started making fast attacks (helped a bit by her limited ability to run away) for a 10-7 victory. That brought me up against the #2 seed, a veteran world team member for the last two seasons, but someone I had never run into on the strip before. I was able to assess her strengths and weaknesses before she figured out mine, and played an aggressive attacking game to win 10-6. My semifinal opponent (seed #6) was someone I had fenced (and beaten) in April and also had warmed up with so I knew what to expect. She had an aggressive marching attack that worked when her opponents retreated, but fell apart when I closed distance and counterattacked. Once she lost confidance in her attack, she became passive, allowing me to pick and choose my own moments for a 10-3 win (10th touch awarded on video appeal...pays to know the rules, folks). My opponent in the gold medal match was someone I have fenced at several previous tournaments, a short (i.e. my size) and quick lefty. Last time we met (in April), I crushed her with feint-disengage attacks to the shoulder. But she was having a great day (seeded #1 into DEs) and clearly had been working on her defense, as I soon discovered she was no longer leaving that particular target open. We had a fun cat-and-mouse bout, each patiently trying to trick the other into a mistake. We were tied at 7 at the end of regulation, sending the bout into overtime. I got the priority (meaning if no-one scored after 1 minute, I would win), but I knew my chances were better if I tried to surprise her rather than run out the clock. So almost immediately I took a flier on an fast attack, making a deep feint to 8 and disengaging to the high line. Fortunately for me, I nailed the attack, and now, after knocking out 4 B rated fencers (including 3 past veteran world team members), I finally have a B rating of my own (hey, it only took me 43 years....).