This site is in the process of being updated

Please check back soon for the new look and updated information.
The officers for the 2010-2011 season are:

Chair – Richard Vidor
Vice Chair – Peter Buchard
Secretary – Tom Tully
Treasurer – Terry Dix


Please send email to:

Jr and Sr PCC info

JrPCC will be the weekend of April 17-18 in San Rafel CA  This will be Jr quals and cadet and Jr team championships

Dominican College

Conlan Center Gym

1475 Grand ave

San Rafel CA 94901

Sr PCC will be the weekend of May 8-9 in Las Vegas Nevada at the Alexsis Park Resort . This will be div 1a quals and Vet and Sr team championships

 We have a roomrate of 79.00 a night for the weekend. Events will be posted on Ask Fred by tuesday. 


            1.  Please call reservations at the resort (800)582-2228 (in the Continental United States) or (702)796-3322.

            2.  Please ask for reservations.

            3.  Please ask reservations for group block Pacific Coast Section Championship (Fencing).

Board of Directors Notes and Minutes

To the PCC membership:

The BOD’s meeting in Chicago was an amazing experience. I say this even though I am a cynical, experienced, veteran of USFA committee work and political posturing.

My expectation was that, although it was a new, and possibly better group, that a lot of the same issues of lack of collaboration and compromise would limit the groups’ ability to get things done.

Thank goodness I was wrong! The meeting agenda was clear, the leadership positive and appropriate, the information clear and available; we accomplished all that we hoped, on time.

You can see by the Minutes (called ‘draft’ because they need to be ratified at the next meeting) that there were a number of actions that were passed that will help the USFA move forward; help us recover from the financial problems, redefine the role of the organization, and learn how to support efforts strategically, with planning and execution.

I was especially pleased to watch BOD members with strong differences of opinions compromise to move actions through. The new Executive Committee is committed to the effort it will take to get things done. They have structured the oversight of committees well (see Committee Appointments) and have a focused timeline. The budget and all activitions are being presented in a transparent manner, and that is what we should expect to see going forward.

I was honored to be appointed as co-chair of the Resource Development Committee, with Michael Morgan, who has been involved with fencing since 1958. Our committee’s job is to develop a clear brand message, and then find both internal and external resources to help fund the USFA’s operation and growth goals. We will also make sure that all the committees are supported in presenting a common message as they develop club support, school programs, a wheelchair program, technology: the web site and other critical infrastructure and programs.

Thank you again for electing me to represent the Pacific Coast Section. I am optimistic that we are moving forward in a positive manner. Anyone with specific questions for me, please email me at


Kathryn Schifferle

Knee Injuries in Female Athletes

In the last couple of weeks, I unfortunately had an opportunity to learn a lot about the knee injuries in female athletes – primarily because my daughter had a bit of a scare (which thankfully turned out to be minor).

It turns out that female athletes have an inordinate number of knee injuries.  While there is some debate about the underlying reasons (some think it has to do with hip geometry of post-adolescent female athletes, others think that its the lack of weight training that girls do after puberty), the answer does seem to indicate more stringent physical training for these competitors.

I’ve attached some research and information from the University of Cincinnati that was sent to me – I encourage all female athletes and their parents/coaches to read it (and any other information that they can get their hands on).  Then, I’d encourage our women fencers (or those who are responsible for our women fencers) to speak with their doctors and coaches and develop a training plan to improve strength around these very important joints.

We can encourage these athletes to do the training necessary to reduce the incidence of these injuries – and prolong their enjoyment of our sport.  Thanks!

Gary Zeiss

Banned Substances in Fencing

Today’s news gives us a somber reminder that all competitors need to use caution – and make sure our competitive children use caution – when it comes to banned substances.  Italy’s Andrea Baldini – one of the world’s best men’s foil fencers – was excluded from the Beijing Olympics for testing positive for a banned substance.  While Mr. Baldini is disputing the test, for him the damage has been done, as he will be missing this chance to medal in the 2008 Olympics.

Banned substances can be tricky.  They include a number of Over-the-Counter and prescription medications, as well as many homeopathic remedies.  Also, some substances persist in the bloodstream long after their therapeutic benefit has been experienced.  It behooves each of us to know – and to make sure that our kids know – what these substances are and how to avoid them.

The USADA web site has a number of resources that can guide us when it comes to which substances can and cannot be used.  Please refer to it regularly – and remember to check any prescription and OTC remedies that you or your child athlete may wish to use.

Our Olympians

I wanted to wish our olympians the best of luck in Beijing!

  • Doris Willette (Women’s Foil)
  • Gerek Meinhardt (Men’s Foil) – and also the youngest US male athlete!
  • Jason Rogers (Men’s Sabre)
  • Gerard Moreno (Wheelchair)
  • Scott Rodgers (Wheelchair)
Congratulations!  Safe travels… and bring home some bling!

135 Medals for the Section!

Congratulations to all who fenced at this years’ Summer Nationals in San Jose. Reports from the venue were overwhelmingly positive – it was truly a great nationals for all involved.

And the fencers of the PCS truly excelled, garnering 135 medals (the most of any section) including three gold medals!

As we begin the summer season and begin recharging for next year’s competition, we should all take a moment to celebrate our accomplishments of 2008.

Best regards,


Congratulations to PCS Members at the Las Vegas World Cup!

Congratulations to the following members of the Pacific Coast Section and their efforts at the 2008 World Cup in Las Vegas, Nevada (June 19-23, 2008).

Women’s Foil

  • Doris Willette – 11th Place
  • Madison Zeiss – 26th Place
  • Pilar Alicea – 44th Place
  • Phenix Messersmith – 58th Place

Men’s Sabre:

  • Barron Nydam – 47th Place
  • Jason Rogers – 56th Place

The Referee was Horrible! What do I do?

As both Section Chair and a national referee, I have heard this complaint very frequently.  As the parent of two great fencers, I’ve felt it too.  Competitors scream and cry, coaches curse in a variety of languages, parents feel cheated.  Everyone says “why can’t we get better referees?”

First of all, like the rest of us, referees are imperfect, make mistakes, have good days and bad days.  But, with rare exception, they are all giving the task in front of them their fullest attention and best efforts.  Yet even the best referees make mistakes.

Second, they are usually seeing the action at an angle better than any spectator or coach.  An action that looks one way from directly in front of it can look like an entirely different action at the end of the strip.  Don’t assume that because you or your coach see it one way, that the referee will see it the same way – that isn’t always the case.

Third, refereeing is a difficult, high-stress and thankless job.  When it pays, it pays poorly.  The hours are long (at the 2008 PCCs, I worked two 13-hour days).  Worse yet, the highest-stress, most difficult calls often happen at the end of very long days.  It isn’t an easy job.

I often say that I referee for four reasons – the hours, the pay, the food, and the respect that I get from the fencers, their coaches and their parents.  I must be crazy ;).

These characteristics make it difficult to hire and recruit referees.  Getting paid very little to eat bad food, stand around for 13 hours a day and get yelled at is not the most attractive job.  But still, we do it – to give something back, to gain some status, because we enjoy the camaraderie of our brethren – all sorts of reasons.  We are even able to pull new people into it – slowly and reluctantly, for sure.  Sometimes these new refs are calling your bouts.

So what to do about a referee who is seeing it differently than you (or your child) is doing it?  Different from their coach’s advice?  Simple.  Change what you or your child is doing.  In a 5 or 15 touch bout, it is unlikely that the fencer is going to be able to teach the referee to see their perfect action.  Furthermore, trying to prove that action will likely cause the fencer to loose.

In foil and sabre, particularly, the fencer is fencing two people – the opponent and the referee.  He or she has to score with both of them to succeed.  


Did I (or my child) qualify for Nationals?

Qualification is one of the most frequently asked questions that the Section officers get. No doubt, it is because the rules are somewhat arcane and confusing. The best resource for the answer to this is the Athletes’ Handbook, distributed by the USFA (link to that document is here).  I encourage you to review Section 2 of that document – it provides the clearest explanation of qualification.

The simple (sort of) rules are as follows:

  • in a qualifier, the top 25% (rounded up) qualify – with a minimum of 3. Thus, if the qualifier has 15 fencers, places 1-4 will qualify. If there are 17 qualifiers, places 1-5 will qualify (remember, rounding up).
  • if there are people who have already qualified (through national points, for example, or through other events), the number of potential qualifiers increase.  Thus, in our example with 15 fencers, above, if the fencer who finished second is on the points list for a particular event, then the 1, 3, 4 and 5 will qualify.
  • Be sure to review the age restrictions, etc., to make sure that the event is available.  Certain events have their annual changeover
  • mid-year (because of the world cup cycle).  Consult the Athletes’ Handbook.
  • There is an appeal process – but the appeal process doesn’t always work.  Perhaps the most consistent successful appeals are those based upon a verified injury at the event for a fencer who has a history of performing successfully at that level.  Of course, other appeals are considered – but it is important to understand that nearly everyone thinks that they should have qualified – so a successful appeal may be more difficult to get than expected.  The appeal process is in the Athletes’ Handbook.
  • Congratulations to the “A”‘s of 2008!


    Alicea, Pilar C
    Bravo, Nobuo U
    Chan, Edbert Y
    Chang, Jason
    Chang, Jerry
    Dew, Eric
    Dollar, Chris
    Henvick, Allison M
    Khoshnevissan, Christopher K
    Lew, Dillon M
    Louie, Brennan W
    Martin, Jeffrey P
    Massialas, Alexander C
    Mattox, Norman S
    Meinhardt, Gerek L
    Nguyen, Danny T
    O’Barr, Kieran C
    Padgitt, Tedd S
    Schenkel, Eli A
    Urbain, Kevin
    Vella, Anthony
    Willette, David G
    Willette, Doris E
    Zeiss, Madison E


    Alexander, Charles H
    Aljibury, Halim F
    Amos, Madeline
    Bethel, Dylan A
    Bothelio, Jere P
    Carnahan, Garrett M
    Case, Dylan P
    Demirchian, Gagik M
    Gegan, Cooper M
    Hansen, Eric J
    Hedges, Philip S
    Jensen, David J
    Lichten, Keith H
    Neveu, Grace K
    Ordody, Gyorgy
    Peterson, Emma K
    Raynis, Michael A
    Rentmeister, Andrea
    Rhea, R. Robert
    Rock, Matt W
    Safford, Hannah R
    Sallembien, Nicolas H
    Tepedelenlioglu, Mehmet


    Nydam, Barron W
    Rogers, Jason N

    PCS Fencers in the Olympics!

    Congratulations to our Sections Olympians!

    • Doris Willette – Golden Gate Fencing Center – Womens’ Foil
    • Gerard Moreno – Los Angeles International Fencing Center – Men’s Wheelchair Foil & Sabre (Category B)
    • Gerek Meinhardt – The Massialas Foundation – Men’s Foil
    • Jason Rogers – Los Angeles International Fencing Center – Men’s Sabre
    • Scott Rodgers – San Diego – Men’s Wheelchair Foil & Epee (Category B)

    When you see them, congratulate them and wish them our best!

    The next few months


    Welcome to the new Pacific Coast Section web site.  Over the next few months, as we transition to a new PCS administration, this web site will contain updates and information that I hope you will find useful.

    The first thing I would like to do is offer my sincere gratitude, and encourage you to offer your sincere gratitude, to Frank van Dyke.  He ran the section for 13 years – pouring his heart and soul into it.  The result was a group of events that were exceptional at this level – both in quality of fencing and the event experience.  Trust me when I say that far more goes into this job than one would expect – and Frank was the engine for a section that has excelled over the past thirteen years.

    Continuing the fine work of Frank will take lots of collective effort.  I hope that we can count on each of you to help where possible. 

    Again, my sincerest “thank you” to Frank and those who have helped him over the years.
    Best regards,