New to the sport of fencing? Trying to venture out of your club to test your skills and meet new people? The North Carolina fencing landscape is evolving fast! Read an overview of the NC fencing competitive landscape.
Club Learning Tournaments
Most clubs have their own in-house tournament series where you learn about tournaments and participate with curiosity. These tournaments are easy for parents to show support in their child’s activities. For adults, they are a great way to socialize and get the heart rate pumping.
PROS: Easy and convenient. You can often borrow gear and just be curious. These events are low-key, community-centered, and full of discovery about yourself.
CONS: These kinds of learning tournaments only happen a few times a year. If you miss an experience, make sure to know when your school or club is offering their next in-house practice event.
Teen Leader Tyson Deck, a high school sophomore, is helping youth fencing at Forge Fencing’s Priority On Youth.
Local NC Tournaments
Support local! Local events are categorized as USA Fencing “sanctioned” events. Being sanctioned allows for a fencer to earn a ranking and there is a standard for how the event is run. Sanctioned events have age and equipment requirements. Learning Tournaments are often “unsanctioned” events. Be careful to read tournament descriptions carefully and make sure you come prepared. Arriving on time means showing up before the start time listed. The time listed means you are warm-uped, dressed, and ready to compete. The start times listed are when you need to be ready to fence.
Below are examples of NC tournament serieses listed on askfred.net:
- Apex Novice Cups
- Forge Fencing Priority On Youth Series
The askfred.net database can also be used when you travel to search by location, name, or weapon for specific events.
Popular Local NC Annual Tournaments:
- Iron Maiden and Ole Man Winter hosted by Cape Fear Fencers
- Big Blue hosted by Forge Fencing
- NC Divisional Qualifying events: NC Junior Olympic Qualifier in the fall and NC Summer Nationals Qualifiers in the spring
- The NC State Games (Fencing is not part of the games for 2023.)
All of these events are listed and updated on askfred.net, usually, 1-2 months before the event begins.
Post-Covid local tournaments often have 10 or more clubs represented at local events from across North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina. Here fencers are huddled to find their results after round one.
Teen Leader Ava Ellis-Furlong at the Junior Olympic Qualifiers held at Apex Fencers Club and hosted by the NC Division in November 2022.
North Carolina Teams and Fencing Leagues
Two teams stand out to us all – Duke Fencing and UNC Fencing. Both teams are part of NCAA Division I varsity programs for both women and men. Local fencers have long enjoyed watching these teams compete for decades. Both teams actively recruit local fencers, national fencers and international fencers. Both teams still host open tryouts or fencers who aren’t on their recruiting radars. This year the NCAA Fencing Championships will be hosted at Duke. Be sure to mark your calendars and attend!
Several collegiate schools also have teams: NC State, UNC-Greensboro, East Carolina, Appalachian State, UNC-Wilmington. NC State Fencing Club is scheduled to host its first collegiate meet in March 2023 at FORGE. Contact the club president Drew Lyon for more information about your team traveling to this event. One fencing parent has taken great interest in collecting data about school admissions and fencing. You can read her blog and see a mostly complete list of schools in the USA with teams and clubs.
High School leagues are popping up all over the United States! These groups are helping to usher fencers from around the state into a competitive team environment. If your school or organization is a part of the league, great! If you want to get a club started, let us know. Forge TEAMS is supporting new school organizations that are student and faculty led, parent supported right now.
PROS: Easy and convenient for North Carolinians, even though NC is a very long state. It is easier to practice with school teammates, right afterschool. With so many university programs in our state, collegiate fencing is something to look forward to for many of our young athletes at all levels of competition!
CONS: Finding referees and tournament locations can be tricky. Check information online before heading out the door. Make sure you have all your gear working and ready to go before showing up.
Regional USA Fencing Tournaments
These events gather fencers from your USA Fencing membership Region. North Carolina is part of Region 6.
Region 6 events offer “points” for fencers to qualify for national events and offer valuable experiences for entering into the national competitive world of USA Fencing. For more information on Regional Events and to register, click here.
PROS: Higher level of competition for those who like the challenge. Fun to travel with your family and teammates. Regional points ensure access to competition like the USA Fencing National Championship and Junior Olympics.
CONS: With a higher level of challenge, a higher level of training becomes needed to feel success in this competitive arena. Individual lessons and building up tournament experience and endurance is needed. Even so, the level of competition is high, coaching and team support become more important. Go NC fencers!
North Carolina Veteran Fencers Erica Julien (Cape Fear Fencing, on left) and Cathleen Randall (FORGE, on right) at The Southern, a Region 6 USA Fencing event in December of 2022.
National USA Fencing Events
North American Cups or “NACs” (as we fencers call them) gather fencers from all over the USA and beyond. The locations vary for each event from year to year. You have to qualify for the National Championships and Junior Olympics, but any member of USA Fencing can register and travel to a NAC if you are feeling brave. Structured training is needed to be competitive at this level. For a full list of USA Fencing-affiliated clubs in our state, click here.
The Summer National Championships are often a melting pot for fencers and North Carolina fencers we love to cheer and support each other on!
Iman Tucker, an NC fencer competing in the 2019 USA Fencing National Championships, is now a sophomore varsity fencer for UNC-Chapel Hill.
After the Nationals …. what’s next?
The world is your oyster, or in this case… your fencing universe! Fencers from all over North Carolina have enjoyed participation in these and other events across the planet:
World Maccabiah Games
World University Games – NC is set to host in 2029!
FIE Cadet, Junior and Senior World Cup Events
FIE Veterans World Championships
FIE Senior World Championships
Erica Julien of Cape Fear Fencing at the Veteran World Championships 2022 in Croatia
Interested in fencing? Contact your local club today!