With the start of the 2017-2018 Junior World Cup season well underway, NFCR has briefly reviewed the pathway taken by the top 5 ranked U.S. men and women foil, epee and saber fencers in Junior World Cup rankings at the end of the previous season. While the data includes fencers that are no longer Junior fencers, it serves as a guideline or pathway for fencers embarking on their Junior International tournament journey.
2017-2018 International Calendar for Junior World Cups
Our earlier posts on the path of World Rankings for members of Team USA’s Cadet, Junior and Senior Team members generated considerable interest. Readers said that showing the longer-term pathway of World Rankings was helpful for fencers starting out on their international tournament journey. Clearly, a fencer’s ranking improves with time. Our analysis finds that in aggregate, across genders and weapons, Junior World Rankings for the top 5 ranked U.S. fencers improved on average, 21 places for every additional year of international junior tournament experience.
All of the rankings are derived from the International Fencing Federation’s (FIE) website and are end-of-year rankings. A fencer may have become the world’s No 1 fencer in a particular weapon during the year, but unless they remain the No 1 at the end of the season, they will not appear as the No 1 in the FIE rankings.
The 30 top ranked U.S. fencers shared 89 years of international junior tournament experience or about three years on average. The experience ranged from six years, in the case of Calvin Liang (Men’s Saber) to one year in the case of Khalil Thompson (Men’s Saber), Henry Lange (Men’s Epee), Oliver Shindler (Men’s Epee), and Alexis Anglade (Women’s Saber).
Eleven (11) or 37% of the group had 4 years or more international junior experience and 16 or 53% of the group had 3 years or more. The average current ranking was about 30 with a range of 2 (Catherine Nixon – Women’s Epee) to 88 (Henry Lange – Men’s Epee).
While no two pathways are the same, the average journey of Junior World Rankings follows a downward sloping curvilinear path as illustrated in the following graphs. The graphs reveal a significant improvement in rankings after one or two years and then a period of consolidation with smaller improvements in rankings.