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.
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