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Benchmarks for Youth Epee Fencers

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Our recent posts, “Potential Benchmark Indicators for Youth Men & Women Saber Fencers” and “Benchmarks for Youth Foil Fencers” generated a lot of interest, so we have decided to finish our trifecta of articles with youth epee fencers!

While the USFA’s classification system for fencers was primarily designed to provide an objective scale for the seeding of competitions, the system is now widely used by youth fencers to mark their progress in the sport.  Being awarded an “E” rating is a major milestone in the fencing life of many youth fencers and is often seen as a “rite of passage” between a “beginner” and a more accomplished fencer.

The pursuit of even higher classifications can lead to frustration and disappointment unless there is a realistic understanding of the time required to develop fencing skills, build confidence, and experience success. We have therefore developed a set of benchmark indicators which provide a realistic timeline for youth epee fencers seeking to achieve a rating classification.

So what is a benchmark indicator? A benchmark indicator is a measurement that can help a fencer improve his or her performance.  Benchmarks are goals to aim for. Fencers can choose benchmarks based on either standards or averages derived from their age-gender-weapon category or experience group. For instance, fencers may look to peak performers in an age-gender-weapon category and set their performance levels in areas such as training or the time required to reach different classification levels as their benchmarks – the levels they will strive to reach.  Benchmark indicators can motivate fencers, giving them measurable goals to achieve. They can help youth fencers see how they measure up to others in their age or experience group.

Benchmarking is all about comparing an athlete’s performance with others. Therefore, care needs to be exercised in choosing potential partners. For the purpose of deriving benchmark indicators for both youth men and women epeeists, we examined the historical performance of a group of epee fencers who are currently ranked in either Cadet Men’s Epee or Cadet Women’s Epee and were born in 2001 or later. These ideal benchmarking fencers are ranked in the tables at the bottom of this post.  The benchmark partners represent a diverse group of fencers from different clubs, different states with a range of rating classifications and birth years. All of the rating classifications were awarded during the Y-10 to Y-14 period. The group also represents peak performers as its members have achieved a ranking in the Cadet Division as a youth fencer.

Youth Men Epee Fencers

The group of men epeeists consists of 26 fencers who are currently ranked in Cadet Men’s Epee from # 6 through #68, with a spread of rating classifications from “A” to “D.” The group represents two birth years (2001 and 2002) and 22 clubs in 12 states. The fencers’ average age at their first tournament was 10.5 years, with a range of 8.8 to 13.5 years as illustrated in the table below.

“E” ratings were awarded to 17 or about 65% of the group.  The average time spent between the first event and being awarded an “E” rating was 2.2 years with a standard deviation of 1.0 years. This means that about 70% of “E” rated youth men epeeists were awarded their rating between 1.2 years and 3.2 years (2.2 years -/+1.0 years) after their first event. Fifty percent (50%) took between 1.4 years (25th percentile) and 3.0 years (75th percentile) to achieve their “E” rating. Of the group of 26 fencers, only five have an “A” rating, which took on average 4.6 years to achieve since their first event.

 Benchmark Indicators for Youth Men Epee Fencers

Age at First Event (Years) Years Between First Event and “E” Rating Years Between First Event and “D” Rating Years Between First Event and “C” Rating Years Between First Event and “B” Rating Years Between First Event and “A” Rating
Average 10.5 2.2 2.6 3.0 3.4 4.6
Standard Deviation 1.3 1.0 0.9 1.2 1.1 1.0
Maximum 13.5 4.1 4.4 4.6 5.3 6.2
Minimum 8.8 1.0 1.3 0.4 1.5 3.7
Median 10.5 2.0 2.3 3.0 3.5 4.4
75th Percentile 11.5 3.0 3.4 3.9 4.1 5.0
25th Percentile 9.4 1.4 1.8 2.2 2.7 3.9
Number of Fencers 26 17 21 19 18 5
Source: National Fencing Club Rankings based on an analysis of USFA national and askFRED.net data.

The distribution of years between the first event and the rating classifications awarded to youth men epee fencers currently ranked in Cadet Men’s Epee at July 18, 2016 is highlighted in the box-and-whisker plots below.

Each rating classification has a diagram, the height of which represents the numerical range of years (minimum and maximum values). The “boxes” represent the 25th through the 75th percentile. This type of chart enables the reader to make quick comparisons among the rating classifications.

This graph tells us that the full range of years to achieve an “E” rating for the group was quite large, extending from 1.0 years on the low end to 4.1 years on the high end. Scrolling over the box-and-whisker plot for the “E” rating highlights the data set: E 1.0-4.1, 1.4-3.0.   The middle half (mid-spread) of fencers gained their “E” rating between 1.4 and 3.0 years after their first tournament. The 25% of “E” ratings which took the least amount of time to achieve are grouped across  a range of 0.4 years (1.4-1.0 = 0.4). The distance across which the top 25% are distributed is slightly larger at 1.1 years (4.1-3.0 = 1.1)

Youth Women Epee Fencers

The group of women epeeists consists of 29 fencers who are currently ranked in Cadet Women’s Epee from # 1 through #62, with a spread of rating classifications from “E” to “A.” The group represents four birth years (2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004) and 18 clubs in nine states. The fencers’ average age at their first tournament was 10.5 years, with a range of 7.9 to 14.2 years as illustrated in the table below.

“E” ratings were awarded to 18 or about 62% of the group.  The average time spent between the first event and being awarded an “E” rating was 1.6 years with a standard deviation of 1.1 years. This means that about 70% of “E” rated youth women epeeists were awarded their rating between 0.5 years and 2.7 years (1.6 years -/+1.1 years) after their first event. Fifty percent (50%) took between 0.9 years (25th percentile) and 2.5 years (75th percentile) to achieve their “E” rating. Of the group of 29 fencers, 11 or about 38%  have an “A” rating, which took on average 4 years to achieve since their first event.

 Benchmark Indicators for Youth Women Epee Fencers

Age at First Event (Years) Years Between First Event and “E” Rating Years Between First Event and “D” Rating Years Between First Event and “C” Rating Years Between First Event and “B” Rating Years Between First Event and “A” Rating
Average 10.5 1.6 2.3 3.0 3.4 4.0
Standard Deviation 1.7 1.1 1.3 1.3 1.4 1.7
Maximum 14.2 3.7 5.5 5.3 6.1 6.7
Minimum 7.9 0.1 0.2 0.7 1.6 1.8
Median 10.6 1.7 2.4 3.1 3.0 4.4
75th Percentile 11.7 2.5 2.9 3.9 4.5 5.0
25th Percentile 9.4 0.9 1.5 1.9 2.0 2.5
Number of Fencers 29 18 22 20 15 11
Source: National Fencing Club Rankings based on an analysis of USFA national and askFRED.net data.

The distribution of years between the first event and the rating classifications awarded to youth women epeeists currently ranked in Cadet Women’s Epee at July 18, 2016 is highlighted in the box-and-whisker plots below.

Each rating classification has a diagram, the height of which represents the numerical range of years (minimum and maximum values). The “boxes” represent the 25th through the 75th percentile. This type of chart enables the reader to make quick comparisons among the rating classifications.

This graph tells us that the full range of years to achieve an “E” rating for the group was quiet small, extending from 0.1 years on the low end to 3.7 years on the high end. Scrolling over the box-and-whisker plot for the “E” rating highlights the data set: E 0.1-3.7, 0.9-2.5   The middle half (mid-spread) of fencers gained their “E” rating between 0.9 and 2.5 years after their first tournament. The 25% of “E” ratings which took the least amount of time to achieve are grouped across a 0.8-year range (0.9-0.1 = 0.8). The distance across which the top 25% are distributed is larger at 1.2 years (3.7-2.5 = 1.2)

The benchmark data contained in the post provides fundamental information for the development of realistic goals in attaining different rating classifications for youth epee fencers. The data recognizes the varied performance of youth fencers and the staircase nature of taking one step at a time to becoming an accomplished fencer.

Ranking of Cadet Women Epee Fencers Born in 2001 or Later (July, 18, 2016)

RankFencerBirth YearClubCurrent Rating
1Candreva, Greta2002Putnam County Fencing Center, NYA
4Mangano, Ariana2001Atlantic Fencing Academy, NJA
11Vermeule, Emily2001Olympia Fencing Center, MAA
12Pirkowski, Amanda2002Stoccata Fencing Academy & Club, FLA
13Rausch, Ariana2002Alliance Fencing Academy, TXA
15Tanibajeva, Rachel2001Peter Westbrook Foundation, NYA
16Gao, Emily2001North Shore Fencers Club, NYA
18Liang, Rui2001Alliance Fencing Academy, TXB
20Sheffield, Lake2001Peter Westbrook Foundation, NYA
21Beddingfield, Claire2001Los Angeles International Fencing Center, CAB
27Bulavko, Sonia2002Academy of Fencing Masters, CAA
29Hill, Gabrielle2001Minnesota Sword Club, MNA
34Khrol, Jaclyn2003New York Fencing Academy, NYA
35Gill, Kaitlyn2001Fencing Academy of Westchester, NYB
36Yamanaka, Mina2002North Shore Fencers Club, NYB
37Hedvat, Alexis2002Fencers Club, NYB
39Yeu, Irene2002Swords Fencing Studio, CAB
44TCastro, Rachel2002Northern Colorado Fencers, COC
47TShamsian, Shaya2001Los Angeles International Fencing Center, CAC
49Toncheva, Victoria2001Battle Born Fencing Club, NJC
50Proctor, Sara2002Northern Colorado Fencers, COD
51Filippov, Nika2002Alliance Fencing Academy, TXD
52Dolgonos, Melanie2001New York Fencing Academy, NYC
53Bindas, Blodwen2001Atlantic Fencing Academy, NJB
56Martus, Cosima2001Northern Colorado Fencers, COD
57Lanzman, Anna2001New York Fencing Academy, NYC
58Abdur-Rahman, Hannah-Marie2001Louisville Fencing Center, KYD
60Maldonado, Pilar2004Alamo Fencing Academy, TXE
62Igoe, Nirali2001DC Fencers Club, NYD
Source: 2015-2016 USA Fencing National Rolling Point Standings Cadet Women's Epee

Ranking of Cadet Men Epee Fencers Born in 2001 or Later (July, 18, 2016)

RankFencerBirth YearClubCurrent Rating
6Herbst, Isaac2002Alliance Fencing Academy, TXA
7Temiryaev, Alan2001New York Fencing Academy, NYA
14Candreva, Hunter2001Putnam County Fencing Center, NYA
17Kimatian, Harrison2001Hooked on Fencing, OHB
20Bissinger, Michael2001Alliance Fencing Academy, TXB
22Hansen, Jonas2001Olympia Fencing Center, MAB
27Yu, Colin2001Boston Fencing Club, MAA
31Armoza, Ariel2002North Texas Fencing Alliance, TXB
32Spiteri, Gareth2001Durkan Fencing Academy, NJB
34Grams, Steven2001North Shore Fencers Club, NYB
35Felker, Jared2001Grand Rapids Fencing Academy, MIB
36Dinkins, Ramadah2001Windy City Fencing-Chicago, ILA
39Adolphe, Benjamin2001Fencing Sports Academy, VAB
42Lee, Aaron2002Battle Born Fencing Club, NVB
43Smith, William2001Woodlands Fencing Academy, TXB
44Rayle, Evan2001Northwest Fencing Center, ORC
46Corban, Michael2001Olympia Fencing Center, MAC
48Werrell, Jack2001Morris Fencing Club, NJC
51TBaldwin, Dylan2001Fencers Club, NYC
53Kulaga, Peter2001Illinois Fencers Club, ILC
56Nair, Tarun2001Alliance Fencing Academy, TXB
58Shinholster, Michael2001North Atlanta Fencing Center, GAB
61Plumer, Jack2001Marylanf Fencing Club, MDD
65Dembicer, Sam2001Fencing Academy of Westchester, NYB
67Haider, Syed2002Olympic Fencers Club, GAC
68Nguyen, Ethan2002Battle Born Fencing Club, NVB
Source: 2015-2016 USA Fencing National Rolling Point Standings Cadet Men's Epee

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