USA Fencing events may be restricted to certain age groups. The rules for who is included in which age group are complicated, but are usually based on the age the fencer was on December 31 of the current season (where the season runs from August to July). Common age groups that high schools fencers may compete in are:
- Youth 14 (Y14). Age 11-14 on December 31 of the current season.
- Cadet (U17/U16). In some tournaments, Cadet is age 13-16 (U17), in others it is age 12-15 (U16) on December 31 of the current season.
- Junior (U20/U19). In some tournaments, Junior is age 13-19 (U20), in others it is age 12-18 (U19) on December 31 of the current season.
- Senior. Age 13 or older on December 31 of the current season.
As you can see, it is possible for a fencer to qualify for more than one age group at the same time.
Some events for seniors (including national events and their qualifying tournaments) are further split into the following divisions by classification.
- Division 1 (DV1). Classifications A, B or C.
- Division 1A (D1A). All classifications.
- Division II (DV2). Classifications C, D, E or U.
- Division III (DV3). Classifications D, E or U.
Other events may also be restricted to certain classifications (such as E and under).
- Local tournaments: Sanctioned by the Division and held throughout the season at various local clubs.
- Divisional championships or qualifiers: Includes qualifying events for national championships (except Div I/IA)
- Regional Youth Circuit (RYC): Regional tournaments held for the Y10, Y12 and Y14 age groups.
- Super Youth Circuit (SYC): Eight annual tournaments for the Y10, Y12 and Y14 age groups. Designed to be more competitive than RYC events.
- Regional Open Circuit (ROC): Regional tournaments for division IA, II, and veteran fencers. Designed to be more competitive than Division events but less competitive than North American Cup events.
- Regional Junior and Cadet Circuit: Regional tournaments for the Junior and Cadet age groups.
- North American Cup (NAC): This is a series of seven national tournaments held throughout the year. Y10 and Y12 age groups must qualify by competing in a RYC or SYC event. No special qualification for other groups (beyond the applicable age group and classification).
- Junior Olympics (JO): This is the national championship for Junior (U20) and Cadet (U17). Held in February on Presidents’ Day weekend. Fencers must qualify for the event (typically by finishing in the top 25% of the Divisional qualifier event or by earning points in an RJCC event).
- Summer Nationals (SN): This is the national championship for Division IA, II, III, Veteran (various age groups), and Y 14. Held in July. Fencers must qualify (typically by finishing in the top 25% of their Divisional qualifier event).
- Division I Championship: Held in conjunction with the April North American Cup in Olympic years and some other years. Qualification is by national points standings or top finishes in Division IA or II championships.