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Ranking the Performance of Fencing Clubs at the 2017 National Collegiate Men’s and Women’s Fencing Championships

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Fencers at World Championships

One hundred and forty-four student-athletes from 27 colleges and universities competed in individual events at the 2017 National Collegiate Men’s and Women’s Fencing Championships held over the weekend of 3/24 – 26/2017 at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis, Indiana. There were 22 Division 1, two Division 11 and three Division 111 schools represented at the Championships. The Division I schools dominated the roster of participants with 129 athletes or 90% of the total, compared to 6 or 4.2% from Division II schools and 9 or 6.3% from Division III schools as illustrated in the accompanying graph.

Just over half the student-fencers came from seven schools; Notre Dame (12), Columbia (12), Harvard (11), Princeton (11) Ohio State (11), University of Pennsylvania (10) and Penn State (10) as illustrated in the graph below. Two of these schools qualified the maximum number of 12 fencers allowed per school. Being selected to participate in the Championships is a great accomplishment and a great experience for student-athletes and coaches, not to mention the “bragging rights” bestowed on the winning college or university! For details on how individual athletes are selected to participate in the Championships please refer to NCAA’s Pre-Championships 2016-2017 Manual.

After two days of fencing 23 opponents in a round-robin pool format with five touch bouts, the top four fencers in each gender-weapon event proceeded to a direct elimination with 15 touch bouts to determine a winner. The six individual NCAA Champions crowned were:

  • Women’s Saber – Francesca Russo (Notre Dame)
  • Women’s Foil – Lee Kiefer (Notre Dame)
  • Women’s Epee – Ann Van Brummen (Princeton)
  • Men’s Saber – Eli Dershwitz (Harvard)
  • Men’s Foil – Andras Nemeth (St. John’s)
  • Men’s Epee – Cooper Schumacher (St. Johns)

The six individual championship bouts can be viewed on ESPN3’s website.

The sites for NCAA’s Fencing Championships for 2018-2022 have been announced:

  • 2018 Penn State
  • 2019 Cleveland
  • 2020 Detroit
  • 2021 Penn State
  • 2022 Notre Dame

Notre Dame Wins its First National Title Since 2011

Notre Dame finished the tournament with a 25 point victory, 186-161 over Ohio State University to clinch its ninth national championships.  Detailed results of the Championships can be found on the website of Escrime Management.

Students from overseas accounted for 29 or 20% of the 144 competitors at the Championships. Their results have been grouped into a “Foreign” category in our analysis. Interestingly, the remaining 115 athletes came from 57 clubs located throughout the U.S. It is a testament to the strength of U.S. fencing that the field of competitors at the Championships came from a large number of clubs scattered across the country.

Clubs are not “officially” represented at the Championships but, de facto, they are, as many of the athlete’s clubs prior to entering college are eager to publicize their athlete’s selection as a Championship participant and the results “their” fencers achieved at the Championships. So how did the clubs perform?

Based on a simple weighted point system we ranked the performance of athletes by their club representation. We assigned the fencer’s club immediately before they entered college or a new club, which they may have joined while in college. In no case did we use the college or university representations. Our rationale for adopting this approach is explained in part by reading the material in USFA’s Athlete Handbook relating to collegiate or scholastic fencers.

Due to the round-robin nature of the tournament, we multiplied each fencer’s pool win points by a common factor and then added points for the gold, silver and bronze winners, reflecting the tableau nature of the competition for the final four. We then aggregated the data for each club.

Club Rankings

Apart from foreign clubs, fencers came from 23 foil clubs, 23 epee clubs and 23 saber clubs as illustrated in the table below. Two clubs were represented by fencers in all three weapons, New York Athletic Club and Boston Fencing Club, NY. Five clubs were represented in two weapons: Fencers Club – NY,  DC Fencers Club – MD, Fencing Academy of Westchester – NY,  Peter Westbrook Foundation – NY, and Durkan Fencing Academy – NJ.

The #1 US club based on athlete performance at the 2017 National Collegiate Men’s and Women’s Fencing Championship is the New York Athletic Club followed by the Fencers Club, NY and Alliance Fencing Academy, TX, as illustrated in the accompanying table. The top 10 clubs are:

  • New York Athletic Club, NY
  • Fencers Club, NY
  • Alliance Fencing Academy, TX
  • Manhattan Fencing Center, NY
  • Bergen Fencing Club, NJ
  • Massialas Foundation (M-Team), CA
  • DC Fencers Club, MD
  • Brooklyn Bridge Fencing Club, NY
  • Fencing Academy of Westchester, NY
  • Los Angeles International Fencing Center, CA

Data in the table can be sorted to rank the best performing foil, epee and saber clubs as well as the best clubs overall at the championships. You may click on a column heading to sort the data based on that criteria.

Ranking of Fencing Club Performance at the 2017 National Collegiate Men's and Women's Fencing Championships

ClubMen's SaberMen's FoilMen's EpeeWomen's SaberWomen's FoilWomen's EpeeTotal
210822108221082210822108221082125652
Foreign48674945546054974727344528941
New York Athletic Club, NY133011202200155521228327
Fencers Club, NY2962980217014707582
Alliance Fencing Academy, TX407520606135
Manhattan Fencing Center, NY51955605755
Bergen Fencing Club, NJ40904090
Massialas Foundation (M Team), CA211514003515
DC Fencers Club, MD140014014853025
Brooklyn Bridge Fencing Club, NY30103010
Fencing Academy Of Westchester, NJ63021702800
Los Angeles International Fencing Center, CA19827702752
Zeta Fencing, MA26202620
Bluegrass Fencers' Club, KY112015002620
Cardinal Fencing Club, CA105014152465
Peter Westbrook Foundation, NY14009102310
Boston Fencing Club, MA49010504902030
Durkan Fencing Academy, NJ11209102030
San Francisco Fencers Club, CA10509101960
Nellya Fencers, GA9807001680
Oregon Fencing Alliance, OR15401540
Heartland Fencing Academy, KS14701470
Mission Fencing Center, NY14701470
Rochester Fencing Club, NY5606301190
Schoolhouse Fencing, UT11351135
Sheridan Fencing Academy, NY11201120
Tim Moorehouse Fencing Club, NY11201120
Atlantic Fencing Academy, NJ10501050
Academy of Fencing Masters, CA10501050
Golden Gate Fencing Center, CA980980
Premier Fencing Academy, CA980980
Rockville Fencing Academy, MD910910
Golubitsky Fencing Center, CA840840
Mid-South Fencers' Club, NC840840
Premier Fencing Club, NJ840840
Presidio Fencing Club, CA840840
East Bay Fencers Gym, CA840840
Windy City Fencing Club, IL840840
Sacramento Saber Fencing, CA840840
Advance Fencing and Fitness Academy, NJ770770
Avant Garde Fencers Club, CA770770
Battle Born Fencing Club, NV770770
Florida Musketeers Fencing Clubm FL770770
New Jersey Fencing Alliance, NJ770770
Olympian Fencing Club, TX770770
Rocky Mountain Fencing Academy, CO770770
Salle Mauro Fencing Academy, TX770770
Marx Fencing Academy, MA700700
Northwest Fencing Center, OR700700
The Phoenix Center, NY700700
West Michigan Fencing Club, MI700700
PDX Fencing, OR630630
Rhode Island Fencing Academy And Club, RI630630
Gold Fencing Club, MA560560
San Diego Fencing Center, CA560560
Capital Fencing Academy, VA490490
Fencing Academy of South Jersey, NJ420420
Gasparin Fencing, TX350350
Rain City Fencing Club, WA350350
Source: National Fencing Club Rankings based on an analysis of National Collegiate Athletics Association data.

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