High school fencing

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Fencing at the high school level has varied in popularity. Fencing was once part of many schools' physical education curriculum, and many schools had clubs and would compete in inter-school tournaments. In the second half of the 20th century, fencing gradually faded from physical education curricula in the United States. This has been attributed to worries about 'weapons in schools' or that it requires expensive equipment[citation needed]. Fencers, of course, dispute the characterization of fencing foils as weapons since they fail to meet the applicable criteria – a tool of injury or destruction – since foils are engineered specifically to contact the human body without injury.

However, youth fencing has remained a club sport at some schools, and the last several years have seen an increase in fencing clubs and tournaments at the high school level. The United States Fencing Association has encouraged this through the Regional Youth Circuit program.[1] High school fencing season is generally in winter.[2]

In many European countries fencing is growing more popular each year. In Scotland many new competitions have arisen to get these new fencers into fencing at higher levels, such as the Leon Paul Youth Development series where fencers fit in as much fencing as possible against as many of those in their age and weapon group to gain experience.

High school fencing has also gained a renewed following in the United States, evidenced by the establishment of state leagues, an increase in Junior level national competitors, and in 2011 the establishment of a National High School Championship in Cleveland, Ohio.

High school competitive fencing has grown significantly in the state of New Jersey, one of the few states where it remains a varsity sport. The league is growing steadily, and there are currently 55 varsity programs in the state.[3]

Georgia in particular has seen growing interest in high school fencing. The Georgia High School Fencing League was founded in 2004 and in the 2013–14 season numbers 17 schools and over 350 fencers. Member schools hold their own practices and come together about once a month during the fall and winter seasons to fence other member schools, primarily in épée. Additionally, the On Guard High School League of Georgia was created to allow high school fencers to fence all three weapons (épée, foil and sabre). This league was formed in 2010 in the 2012–13 season numbered seven schools and over 150 fencers.

The North Carolina Fencing League has grown to include Chapel Hill High School, Elkin High School, Morehead High School, East Chapel Hill High School, the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, Bishop McGuinness High School in Kernersville, Cape Fear Fencing Association of Wilmington, Salem Academy, Reynolds High School and even a non-North Carolina school, Carlisle Preparatory Academy in Martinsville, Virginia. The latest champion of the league is Chapel Hill High; prior to that, East Chapel Hill won.

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