Friday, April 20, 2012

Here's How A Fencing Tournament Works

Yesterday, when Landon came to Georgetown Prep, I had my first opportunity to witness a team fencing competition.

Here's how it works, more or less...

Each varsity team has three or so fencers. There are nine rounds of fencing, so with three fencers to a team, each fencer rotates into the competition three times.

The respective coaches decide, ahead of time I believe, the order in which their fencers will rotate in and out.

The first fencers for each team start out against each other, fencing until one of the fencers reaches five touches.

Then the next two designated fencers rotate in. At the end of their bout, one of the teams will have reached ten touches. So the fencer for the team that scored five touches in the first bout can record a maximum of five touches, bringing his team's total to ten. The opposing fencer, though, is eligible to score as many touches as needed to bring his team's total to ten.

In yesterday's bout, Z fenced second, with Georgetown Prep ahead 5-2. Z then won his bout 5-2, bringing the score to 10-4.

The third bout then pits two new fencers against one another. These two fencers compete until one of the teams reaches fifteen touches. And so it goes, with each successive bout ending when the first team reaches the next increment of five--twenty, twenty-five, and so on.

When Z rotated in for the second time, Georgetown Prep was down a bunch of touches, so Z was eligible to score more than five touches. He won that bout something like 12-2.

Georgetown Prep's lead didn't last long, and Z was designated to fence last, in the so-called clean up spot. Georgetown Prep was down 40-36. This meant that Z had to score enough touches to get Georgetown Prep to 45 (the winning number) before Landon.

Z was outscoring his opponent, but was also running out of time. (Did I mention that there are also time restrictions on each bout?)

With four seconds to go, Z needed two more touches to send the competition into overtime. He got one touch immediately, and then had about two seconds left. The bottom picture is Z's last second rush, which fell just short. An exciting, down-to-the-wire ending!

The final score...Landon 45, Georgetown Prep 43.

~Steve

PS: The middle picture is a nice touch to the head that Z scored, I believe in his second bout.

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