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A Brief Preview of the Summer Nationals – Dallas, TX 29th June – 8th July 2016

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Fencers at World Championships

Summer Nationals 2016

Nearly 4,000 athletes from about 395 clubs will compete at the USA Fencing National Championships and July Challenge (the Summer Nationals) from June 29 – July 8, 2016 in Dallas, TX. Billed as the world’s largest fencing tournament, the Summer Nationals will be held at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center during 10 days that will include 78 individual and six team competitions in all three weapons: epee, foil and saber.

During the National Championships, 60 titles will be awarded in Division 1A, Division 11, Division 111, Y14, Y12, Y10, and Veteran (40-49, 50-59, 60-69 and 70+) competitions. Fencers must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. The July Challenge is open to both U.S. and foreign fencers competing in Division 1, Junior and Cadet events who will be eligible to win one of 18 titles.

In addition, the 2016 Veteran World Championship Team will be selected at the Summer Nationals with the top four athletes in each eligible age group (50-59, 60-69 and +70) being named to the U.S. team that will compete in October in Stralsund, Germany. Athletes competing in the Cadet and Junior divisions also will receive qualifying points on the national rankings that will count towards selection for the 2017 Cadet and Junior World Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

With less than five weeks to go before fencers, coaches, families and officials descend on Dallas, NFCR decided to provide a brief preview of the Summer Nationals as our annual club rankings for the Youth and Veteran categories will be finalized after the tournament. Please note that our preview is based on entries received at the Regular Entry Fee Deadline (May, 16, 2016). With additions and deletions to the entry lists expected in the weeks leading up to the tournament, the final number of participants will obviously change but we wanted to give readers a “feel” for this year’s Summer Nationals. But first, the highlights!


  • 8,421 entries in 78 individual events, 7,823 or 93% with club affiliations
  • 3,985 individual fencers, 3,637 or 91% with club affiliations
  • Fencers will fence on average 2.2 events (Two have registered for seven events!)
  • 140 teams in six Senior Team events
  • 395 clubs will be represented and have on average about 19 entries
  • Largest gender-weapon category – Men’s Foil at 21% of entries, smallest is Women’s Saber at 12%
  • Largest event – Y14 Men’s Foil, smallest event – Vet-70+ Women’s Foil
  • Entries from every state except Wyoming and South Dakota
  • California accounts for 19.9% of entries, followed by New York State at 14%, Texas 10.5% and New Jersey 9.6%.
  • 80% of entries from 122 clubs or 31% of clubs represented
  • 80% of entries from 13 states or 27% of states represented
  • Expect about 300 ratings to be awarded, of which 50% will be A’s and B’s


The data was collected from the Confirmed Entry List from USFA’s website immediately after the Regular Entry fee period closed. The tournament includes six senior team events which are not included in the analysis.  The analysis therefore includes entries that were approved, registered but not yet approved and some that were wait listed.

The final number of athletes competing at the Summer Nationals will obviously vary due to a number of factors including late enrollments paying triple entry fees, ineligible entrants and withdrawals leading up to the tournament.  Natural attrition rates have varied among events over the years of between 3% to 9%.  Due to the dynamic nature of entrant numbers, the analysis is designed to give readers a “feel” for the Summer Nationals, rather than a “final’ accounting.

With 8,421 entries, this years tournament is likely to be the second largest on record eclipsed only by the tournament two years ago in Columbus, Ohio which attracted 8,575 entries. In almost all age/division categories there is growth, although in the case of Division 1, Cadet and Junior categories, year-over-year comparisons are difficult because of the significantly different qualifications paths to the Summer Nationals over the past three years.

The analysis finds that 8,421 individual entries were made for the six gender-weapons across all age/division categories as illustrated in the accompanying table. Men accounted for 58.5% of entrants and women 41.5% which compares with last year’s Summer Nationals when men accounted for 57.2% and women 42.8%. Foil is the most popular weapon for entrants at 37.4% followed by epee and saber at 33.3% and 29.3% respectively. This compares with last year when foil made up 37.6% of entries, followed by epee at 32% and saber 30.4%.

Number of Entries by Gender-Weapon Event for the Summer Nationals at Regular Entry Fee Deadline (16th May, 2016)

EventMen's EpeeWomen's EpeeMen's FoilWomen's FoilMen's SaberWomen's SaberGrand Total% Grand Total
Div 1158108142113121757178.5%
Div 1A16111010984122776637.9%
Div 22101432131581861281,03812.3%
Div 315113217714316712589510.6%
Grand Total1,6581,1501,7871,3591,4789898,421100%
% Grand Total19.7%13.7%21.2%16.1%17.6%11.7%100%
Source: USFA Website

The largest gender-weapon category is Men’s Foil at 21.2% of entries, followed by Men’s Epee at 19.7%. The smallest is Women’s Saber at 11.7% of entries. The Y14 age group is the largest age group or division, followed by the Junior age group.  The Y14 age group accounts for about 14% of entries and in aggregate the youth group (Y10, Y12 and Y14) accounts for the largest category of registrants at 29%.

The largest event at the tournament is likely to be Y14 Men’s Foil with 260 registered fencers and the smallest is likely to be Vet-70+ Women’s Foil at 5 fencers. The average size event for the entire tournament is likely to be about 108 fencers.

Entrants for the 2016 Summer Nationals  have come from every state in the nation except for Wyoming and South Dakota as illustrated on the following map. Scroll over the map to highlight details.

California is by far and away the most important state in terms of the number of entrants. The state accounts for about 20% of entrants followed by New York State 14%, Texas 10.5% and New Jersey 9.6%. The marker on the green slider compares a state’s entrant numbers with that of California.

The average number of events entered by fencers varies by age, weapon, state of origin and type of club. It’s not quite the 80:20 rule where 80% of the business is generated by 20% of the clients but it is fairly close; 80% of the expected entrants at the Summer Nationals are generated by about 122 or 31% of the clubs represented. About 395 clubs out of a total 600 USFA Member clubs will be represented at the tournament. Registrants are also concentrated in a number of states with 80% of the demand likely to come from 13 or about a quarter of the states. About 2.1% of entrants were foreign fencers, mainly from Canada, China and South Korea.

The number of clubs represented by each age/division category ranged from a high of 265 for Division 11 to a low of 34 for the Vet-70+ age group as illustrated in the table below. The average entries per club by age/division also varies significantly from a high of 5.1 in Juniors to a low of 1.6 in the case of Vet-60 age group.

Number of Clubs Represented by Age/Division Events for the Summer Nationals at Regular Entry Fee Deadline (16th May 2016)

EventTotal EntriesClub Affiliated EntriesPercent Club Affiliated# Clubs Average Entries Per ClubLargest # Entries by a ClubClubs with Largest Entries
Grand Total8,4217,60290.3%39519.2183Fencers Club, NY
Div 171764189.4%1713.7
27Alliance Fencing Academy, TX
Div 1A66362193.7%1913.320Fencers Club, NY
Div 11103893590.1%2653.517Medeo Fencing Club, NJ
Div 11189576985.9%2413.215Denver Fencing Center, CO
Junior1150107493.4%2095.134Fencers Club, NY
Cadet89283593.6%1864.525Fencers Club, NY
Y141205110992.0%2244.934Massialas Foundation (M Team), CA
Y1279671589.8%1744.127Massialas Foundation (M Team), VA
Y1044736481.4%1312.819Alliance Fencing Academy, TX
V4014212185.2%771.66Denver Fencing Center, CO
V5025222288.1%1211.811Salle Auriol Seattle, WA
V6015613888.5%861.65Salle Auriol Seattle, WA
V70685885.3%341.74Bucks County Academy Of Fencing, NJ
Source: USFA Website and National Fencing Club Rankings.

The largest number of entries for any club along with the club’s name is provided in the table. In the case of Juniors for example, the Fencers Club, NY has the largest number of entrants at 34. In the case of the Vet-70+ year age group, Bucks County Academy of Fencing, NJ has the largest contingent with four entries. A similar analysis by gender-weapon category is provided in the following table.  The Alliance Fencing Academy, TX has the largest contingent of fencers in Men’s Epee at 106 entrants. In total, the Fencers Club has the largest number of entrants of any club at 183.

Number of Clubs Represented by Gender-Weapon Events for the Summer Nationals at Regular Entry Fee Deadline (16th May 2016)

EventTotal EntriesClub Affiliated EntriesPercent Club Affiliations# Clubs Average Entries Per ClubLargest # of Entries by a ClubClubs with Largest Entries
Grand Total8,4217,60290.3%39519.2183Fencers Club, NY
Men's Epee1,6581,49390%2166.9106Alliance Fencing Academy, TX
Women's Epee1,1501,05591.7%1546.966Alliance Fencing Academy, TX
Men's Foil1,7871,58188.5%1978.089Massialas Foundation (M Team), CA
Women's Foil1,3591,23891.1%1607.769Fencers Club, NY
Men's Saber1,4781,33790.5%1439.388Nellya Fencers, GA
Women's Saber98989890.8%1118.149Nellya Fencers, GA
Source: USFA Website and National Fencing Club Rankings.

The Summer Nationals provide a significant opportunity for fencers to earn or upgrade their rating classifications. Last year almost 300 rating classifications were awarded in the 78 individual events as illustrated in the following table.

Rating Classifications Awarded by Age/Division Category at the 2015 Summer Nationals, San Jose, CA

 A15 B15 C15 D15 E15 Total% of Total
Div 111912644113.8%
Div 111191163612.1%
Div 1A2212113612.1%
Div 1171186.0%
% of Total31.9%22.8%20.1%12.4%12.8%100%
Source: USFA Website

Just over 17% of classifications were awarded to youth fencers, followed by Div 11 fencers at 13.8%.  Almost 32% of the rating classifications awarded were “A” ratings, 23% were “B” ratings and 20% were “C” ratings. Last year was the first time in the past four years that no rating classifications were awarded to the Vet-70+ age group.

The changing composition of rating classifications as fencers move from the youth age groups to cadet, junior and senior categories is demonstrated in the following graph.  About 32% of youth fencers who have registered have ratings and a significant proportion of these are in the Y14 age group. About 12% have an “E” rating, 8% a “D” rating and 8% have a “C” rating. About 4% have either a “A” or “B” rating.  The majority of registered fencers in Cadet events have either a “C” or “B” rating accounting for 29% and 24% of entrants respectively.  Just over 50% of all fencers registered for Senior events have an “A” rating and 30% have a “B” rating.  Interestingly, the composition of ratings for the Veteran group mirrors the average composition for the entire group of registered fencers.

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