|National Intercollegiate Women's Fencing Association
Three women collegiate fencers, Julia
Jones and Dorothy Hafner of New York University and Elizabeth Ross of
Cornell University, founded the NIWFA in 1929. The inspiration
and model for the new athletic association for women was the men's
Intercollegiate Fencing Association (IFA) founded a third of a century
before. The purpose of the organization was to develop women's intercollegiate
fencing and to sponsor an annual championship.
New York University won the first team
championship. Mrs. Mildred Stuyvesant Fish of New York, donated
the perpetual trophy for the team championship. Julia Jones, an N.Y.U.
student won the first individual championship. Until her death in 1995,
Ms. Jones was the guiding light of the association she helped to establish.
The Christmas Invitational is an
individual event for collegiate women hosted by the NIWFA on
the first Sunday in December. Each member college/university may enter
a maximum of six foil, six epee and six saber fencers in the annual
event. This developmental event for novice fencers sanctions the participation
of United States Fencing Association (USFA) Class "C"
fencers or below. (Fencers need not be members of the USFA.)
The competition in each weapon is conducted
in a round robin format to a final of six fencers. Fencers eliminated
in the first round compete in a consolation round. Each entrant is thereby
provided with at least two rounds of fencing competition. The six finalists
are awarded Julia Jones Medals. The Evelyn Terhune Trophy
is presented to the winner of the foil event. The first place epeeist
is awarded the Betty Santelli Trophy and the saber champion,
the NIWFA Trophy.
The NIWFA Team and Individual Championships
are held on the last Saturday in February or the first Saturday in March.
Foil, epee and saber teams compete in separate round robin formatted
championships. A match between each three-member team consists of three
bouts. The total number of bouts won determines the team championship.
The Mildred Stuyvesant Fish Trophy
is presented to the Champion Foil Team; the Raymond Miller Trophy
to the Champion Epee Team and the Giorgio Santelli Trophy
to the Champion Saber Team. The Combined Weapons Team Champion is awarded
the Olympians Trophy. The second place team is presented with
the West Point Trophy.Each member of the first four teams is
awarded a Julia Jones Medal.
Sixteen fencers in each weapon qualify
from the team events for participation in the Direct Elimination Individual
Championships. The eight finalists in each weapon are awarded Julia
Jones Medals. The Foil Champion is awarded the Julia Jones Trophy;
the Epee Champion, the Salle Santelli Women's Epee Team Trophy
and the Saber Champion, the Saber Trophy.
Any college or university granting a degree
at the Bachelor's level is invited to become a member of the association.
Members of fencing teams must be matriculated, undergraduate, full-time
students in good standing. Student athletes must be amateur fencers.
Following the guidelines of the National Collegiate Athletic Association
(NCAA), fencers are eligible to compete in the NIWFA for
a total of four years.
The NIWFA remains true to the vision
of its founders by continuing to provide competitive fencing opportunities
for collegiate women and develop their skills in competition. Many NIWFA
alumnae continue to be actively involved in fencing.
19 NIWFA alumnae have participated on one or more Olympic Teams
17 NIWFA alumnae have participated on one or more Pan American
15 NIWFA alumnae have won one or more AFLA and USFA National
How strong is NIWFA competition?
Fencing is not a sport which can be measured in absolute terms of how
far, how fast or how much. Most NIWFA fencers learn to fence while
they are in college, although some started in secondary school or in a
club. There is considerable range in skill level among NIWFA fencers.
(The competitive filed, however, is approximately that of USFA
Class "C" fencers or below.)
The annual dues for each member college
or university are $50.00. The association sets entry fees for the Christmas
Invitational and the Annual Championships to meet the cost of each event.
For further information, please contact:
Denise C. O'Connor
224C Buckingham Court
Lakewood, New Jersey 08701