Bulletin for the Week of January 14, 2019


1. SCHEDULE AND GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENTS Attention Middlebury fencers: This Monday and next (January 14 and 21), Level 1/2 classes will meet at the Bridge School (1469 Exchange St, Middlebury, VT, looks like a large barn with blue roof, on corner with route 7), 6:30-9 as usual. Competitive Squad will hold practices separately those 2 dates, from 7-9 pm at Vintage Fitness in Vergennes (11 N. Main St, the old Kennedy Bros building). Go upstairs and it is the first door on the right. If you arrive late (please try not to) and the front door of the building is locked, call Geoff at 703-507-6742 and someone will come down and let you in. Charlotte Squaddies are welcome to take advantage of the closer location to get in some practice with the Middlebury gang in Vergennes, or schedule a lesson with Geoff. To recap...Level 1/2 students come to the Bridge School tonight. Competitive Squad members have a choice - meet Geoff in Vergennes for an intensive workout, or come to the Bridge School to help with/participate in L2 classes and do some open fencing afterward. Next week will be the same. Wednesday Level 3 classes are still at Mary Hogan.

Attention Charlotte fencers: I have left multiple messages for the Rec Department trying to find out the finalized basketball schedule on Tuesdays, with no answer yet. Unless I hear back and send out an updated message before then, let's plan to start practice at 7 pm tomorrow. With any luck, the gym will be open and we can have an earlier practice time. At worst, the basketball players will actually be there using it until 7:30, in which case we will hang out in the hallway and socialize until we can start. Thursday Level 3 classes start at 7.

Despite the snow day in Middlebury last Wednesday, Level 3 classes in Middlebury and Charlotte will be the same as eachother this week (and probably for a few weeks). At some point, I will backtrack and fill in the missed class in Middlebury. We will use one of our designated make up days in March.

Do you still owe class fees or club dues for the winter term? Please bring payments in this week. If you are not sure what you owe, email me and ask.

Lost and found from tournament Saturday: black Columbia fleece jacket, Leon Paul water bottle, large righty Uhlmann glove, 1 foil body cord (clear Uhlmann), 1 epee body cord (white, faded initials on it - name possibly starts with T). Let me know if any of this is yours.

Thank you to Project Y Theatre Company (Kirin B), American Flatbread (Samantha L), Vermont Sun (Kelley T) and the Flynn Family for sending in the first sponsorships of this year's fund drive. Now we need a whole lot more! I will remind you once again:
-To get names on the t-shirt, I must have sponsors' names by Feb 1. That is less than 3 weeks away!
-Sponsorships are the most important part of the fund drive. We can not make up a shortfall in sponsorships through refreshment sales or raffle tickets.
-We all benefit from a well-funded club (if in no other way, than in club dues that are significantly lower than most fencing clubs in the New England region). Therefore it is incumbant on all of us to participate in the fund drive in some way. The best contribution you can make is to go out and get a lot of sponsors. The earlier you start, the more likely you are to succeed. Please, please, please do not assume other people will take care of this.
-Please help your fellow fencers avoid duplication by listing the businesses you plan to approach here:

Small embarrassing thing: as many of you know, our old web address (vtfencingalliance.com) got hacked by a Russian porn site. Our real address is vtfencingalliance.org. I thought I had caught them all, but I had a sponsor point out (with good humor) that it still says .com on the sponsorship form. I have uploaded a corrected version to mailchimp. You can download it here:
Alternatively, if you already printed some out, it's fine to just cross out .com and write in .org. If you handed some out already, don't worry about it.

Thank you to Jessica Hill (Jansen's mom) for volunteering to design this year's t-shirt. Jessica works as a graphic design professional. Yay for harnessing the talent of fencing club parents!

Thank you to Barbara Greenwalt (Henry's mom) and Vicki Schermeyer (Philip's mom) for volunteering to be Cafe co-Queens. As the Middlebury Open tournament approaches, they will be asking everyone to contribute goodies for the refreshment table (and probably setting up some kind of on-line sign up).

We still need a Raffle Czar (or more than one)! We should be getting the raffle organized and getting tickets out for advance sales as soon as possible. If no-one volunteers, we will not have a raffle, which would be a big loss to the fund drive (the raffle raised about $700 in each of the past few years). Maybe one experienced former Raffle Czar could team up with a new volunteer (who could in turn advise next year's new volunteer....)? If you are willing to take on this (fun and not terribly difficult) project, please let me know ASAP.

Anyone who raises $50 or more in sponsorships and/or raffle ticket sales prior to the Middlebury Open gets free entry fees for the tournament. In addition, the person with the greatest number of sponsors (at any level) gets 12 free raffle tickets.

The next local tournament is the 2019 Groundhog Open on Sunday, Feb. 3 at UVM. Events include open foil, epee and saber, and E-under foil and epee. All events are for fencers born 2005 or earlier (i.e. teens and adults), and all require competitive USFA membership.

Are you an E or Unrated fencer? (All first time competitors are Unrated). Here is why you should sign up sooner rather than later for the Groundhog Open
-E-under events are limited to E (the lowest rating) and Unrated fencers. They are intended to give beginning to intermediate level fencers the opportunity to enjoy fencing eachother in a supportive environment, without the big guns. Never competed before? An E-under event would be an excellent place to start!
-If an E-under event has 15+ competitors including 4+ Es, the winner earns a D (and 2nd and 3rd an E). The more VFA fencers who sign up early, the closer we will get to these numbers, and the more likely fencers from other clubs will be to also sign up, in anticipation of a big and exciting event. As the biggest club in Vermont, it is up to us to lead the sign up charge!
-Putting on E, Unrated and Youth events is a lot of work for we experienced competitors (compared to open events, which more or less run themselves). We organize and maintain club equipment for you, we volunteer our time to ref your bouts, and often we give you some coaching as well. We do it because we all remember being beginners once, we remember our first few tournaments, and we want to see the Green Mt Division thrive and grow. Do you appreciate our effort? The best way to show your appreciation is to sign up early and often for E, Unrated, and Youth events!
-Would you join a basketball or tennis league only to come to the practices? Or would you want to play in the games? Tournaments are our games. You can come in last place (as I notoriously did in my first tournament....) and still learn a lot, have fun, and make new friends. I have found over the years that those who participate in tournaments tend to stick with fencing and improve faster, while those who only ever come to practices tend to eventually lose motivation and interest and drift away from the sport (on the average....everyone is different of course). So don't be shy, and dont' worry about whether you are "good enough" (everyone may not be good enough to win, but every single one of you is good enough to participate).
-You don't want to miss the 26th Annual Middlebury Open on March 2-3. Really, you don't, it's the fencing party of the year, and includes events for unrated teen and adult fencers (separate male and female if we have enough of each), youth fencers (born 2006 or later), and veterans (born 1970 or earlier). All teen and adult fencers (born 2005 or earlier) must be competitive USFA members to participate in Champlain Cup Tournaments. It costs $65 to upgrade from noncompetitive to competitive status (do it online at usafencing.org). The membership year runs from Aug 1 through July 31. If you are going to have to make the upgrade to participate in the Middlebury Open anyway, why not do it a month earlier and get one more tournament out of your investment?

To see the event schedule and to sign up, go here:

New to using AskFRED? Directions are here:

We had a big day of fencing in Middlebury on Saturday. Congratulations to the finalists of the 2019 MidWinter Melee!

Open Epee (33 competitors, B2 event)
1 Malenfant, Vincent SRN - earned B rating
2 Wolosinski, Peter VFA
3 Bagley, Ryan VFA
3 Lussier, Jesse VFA
5 Rivait, Birk T SC
6 Mackin, Samuel RIVERSIDE - earned D rating
7 Brisson, Jack VFA
8 Rouse, Joseph CANDLEWOOD

Open Saber (16 competitors, D1 event)
1 Tsunoda, Yudai KH -earned D rating
2 Meagher, Roderick BSC-NY
3 So, KwanTing KH
3 Leonardi, Pierce BSC-NY

Open Foil (26 competitors, C2 event)
1 Simon, Andrew UNAT
2 O'Brien, Jack SCFC
3 Yee, Charles BOSTON FC
3 Gaehde, Christian VASSAR
5 Brookes, Scott MOE
6 Miller, Andrew SCFC -earned E rating
7 Schuppe, Ray VFA
8 Kaplan, Isa VFA -earned E rating

Youth Foil (8 competitors)
1 Keepin, Val VFA
2 Gallagher, Miranda VFA
3 Hill, Jansen VFA
3 May, Ciaran VFA

Youth Epee (4 competitors)
1 May, Ciaran VFA
2 Hanna, Torrey VFA
Youth Spirit Award: Sten Woodward

Performance of the Week: Shared this week by two teen Competitive Squad members. Peter carried the VFA flag the farthest out of any of our fencers in the highly competitive open events. He dropped one pool bout and started DEs seeded 4th. After winning his first DE comfortably, he fenced 4 very close bouts, chalking up a 10-9 win overtime bout against a fellow C-rated fencer, then 15-14 over a B-rated fencer, then 15-13 over the #1 seed (his on-fire fellow Squaddie Jesse), before finally losing 15-14 to a quick and smooth Canadian competitor. Because I was reffing and fencing foil, I only got to see the end of his gold medal bout, but I remember Peter once telling me that the difference for him between a good and a mediocre performance is his mindset and level of focus (something I can relate to because I am the same). His focus and determination carried him to within one point of earning a B - and for a seasoned fencer like Peter, a close call with success is a motivation, not a disappointment! Isa, after several close calls with success earlier this season, finally earned his E rating this weekend (and had Ray not been fencing quite so well, he might have skipped the E entirely and earned a D...). There is a saying that all fencers are either technicians (they succeed through physical and tactical excellence) or warriors (they succeed through fighting spirit, determination, force and aggressiveness). Initially, warriors tend to chalk up more wins (they simply overwhelm their slower and more careful opponents), but in the end, warriors need to develop good technique or they will be limited in how far they can go, while technicians need to develop speed and a willingness to take appropriate risks, or they will always look great in drills but be unable to win competitive bouts. Isa is definitely a technician. For a long time he has been able to demonstrate good form, and good understanding of tactics, but lost bouts when his more aggressive opponents picked up the pace. This season, the new Competitive Squad program has given Isa two things: the opportunity to train harder and fence more bouts against peers who push him, and the opportunity to take regular private lessons. On Saturday, he went 3-2 in his pool (beating a U and 2 Es, losing to a C and a solid D who was an eventual bronze medalist). He began DEs seeded 12 and pulled off a 15-13 upset over the #5 seed (a D-rated team-mate) to earn a well-deserved E (the hard way, in an open event, rather than by beating a bunch of other U's!).

Honorable Mentions: Ray and I have a years-long fun rivalry going, mostly dominated by me recently in foil (epee is another story). Usually, I fence him after (or while) he is fencing at least one other weapon (not to mention all the reffing Ray always does to keep our tournaments running smoothly). But Saturday I was the tired one and he had the fresh legs. I was ahead until the 3rd period, when he picked up the pace (not just in physical energy expenditure, but in focus, persistence, and choosing the right moments and right targets to attack), and edged me out of the top 8, 15-14 - much to his credit and to the disappointment of the fencers hoping for a B2 event. Jesse went undefeated in his pool, and beat a B rated fencer to make the semifinals and renew his C rating. Max had a solid effort in pools, with just a single 5-4 loss, and a come-from-behind win over me.

Thank yous: It takes a big team of volunteers to pull off a good tournament. Thanks to Leslyn, Susan A, Susan N, Isidora, Alex, Will, Don, Chris and everyone else who lent a hand doing everything from meet management to sun glare management!