GHSFL Tournament Hosting Guide

February 1st 2022


This document attempts to cover all aspects of hosting a GHSFL tournament except for running FencingTime.
If you have questions, please contact:

These related documents can also be found on this site:

  • Policies and Procedures of the Georgia High School Fencing League
  • GHSFL Competition Format
  • GHSFL FencingTime Instructions

Getting on the tournament schedule

All schools that have competed in two or more seasons are required to host at least one regular season tournament. The schools that won the previous season’s Team Championship have the right of first refusal on hosting the new season’s Individual Championship and Team Championship, as well as their obligation to host a regular season tournament. Depending on the number of schools in the league and the number of tournaments in the season, it may be necessary for some schools to host additional tournaments, or for a new school that has not competed in two seasons to host a tournament.

The host receives $10 per fencer from the participating schools. There is also a profit to be made on concessions sales.

The league usually announces tournament dates for the coming season in March and asks schools to bid on hosting the tournaments. Bids are accepted in the order that they are received. Before the schedule is published, try to have an idea of what dates you can host on, that give you the best chance of securing the date(s) you want.

If you are unable to reserve suitable facilities at your school, other possible locations might include a middle or elementary school, a church gym, or a community centre.

The board will assign a host school for tournaments no school has bid on.


Fencing Strips

The GHSFL Tournament Coordinator will decide how many strips to assign based on the number of expected fencers from each school. When you host, you will must send the GHSFL Tournament Coordinator maximum number of strips you can accommodate, with the minimum being 8 strips. It is ideal to have more strips, especially for the Individual and Team Championships

Strip Layout

For most schools, the possible strip locations are: main gym, aux gym, and cafeteria. As a last resort, you can place strips in a wide hallway.
Fencing strips must be the size specified by USA Fencing: 14m long and 1.5-2m wide. There must be enough space around the strip to allow safe fencing, meaning:

  • At least 1.5m run-off space at each end of the strip
  • At least .6m (2’) between the edge of the strip and the scoring table or any other obstruction
  • At least 2m between strips when the space will be occupied by a scoring table
  • At least 3.5m between strips when the space will be occupied by two referees
  • At least 1.5m between the edge of the strip and a wall when the space will be occupied by one referee

There will also need to be enough room for spectator to get from the doors to their seats and the fencers to move from strip to strip without stepping on a strip or passing between referees and their strips.

It is a good idea to survey possible locations in advance so you know how many strips can be placed in each location.

Sample Strip Layout

Sample Strip Layout

Other Space Requirements

there will usually be one room where most of the strips are, adn where PA announcements will be made. In this document, it will be called “the gym”. If you decided to place any of the below tables in the gym, remember that fencers will most likely gather around these tables/spaces, which could eat into strip space.

Check-In Table

You will need a place for the check-in sheets for fencers, referees and school representatives as well as for the people doing equipment checks.

Armorers’ Table

You should provide a table and chairs for armorers at your event. This is usually place in the gym, since fencers might need quick access to it.

Scoring Table

You must provide a table and chairs for the scorers/tournament managers with space for a laptop and printer. This should be in, or close to, the gym. Fencers will be bringing DE slips up to this table.

Fencing Bags

You will need to set aside space in or near the gym to store their fencing bags. Do not use the floor of the gym. Upper levels of bleachers, nearby hallways, and classrooms are common spaces to use. It helps to designate spaces for each school with signs for each school’s space.


You will need an area for concessions sales. Most schools have a concessions stand close to the gym that you may be able to use, otherwise, you will need a table and chairs for the volunteers. You also need tables and chairs for the people who are eating.

Most hosts provide breakfast items in the morning and lunch items later in the day.

You must also provide a first aid kit in the concessions area.

Referees’ Table

You must provide complementary food and drink for the referees, scorekeepers/tournament managers, and coaches. This can be a table in or near the gym and should provide breakfast items, lunch items, and drinks. You can stock the table with items from the concessions stand, or provide referees with vouchers that they can use to get items from the concessions stand.

Other Facilities Issues

Be familiar with your school’s policies and procedures. You should at least know the answer to the following questions:
What is the procedure for reserving a gym or the cafeteria? Is there a charge?

  • How far in advance can facilities be reserved?
  • How do you make sure you will have access to other spaces that you plan on using, such as the concessions stand and hallways? That includes hallways you need to get from the school entrance to the gym, etc.
  • Do you need to arrange for heating or air conditioning to be turned on (and is there a charge for this)?
  • Can you reserve the facilities for the night before the tournament so that you can set up on Friday evening?
  • Can bleachers be retracted (if you need more space) and basketball goals be raised (so that épées don’t get caught in the netting)? If so, how do you arrange for this to be done?
  • How early in the morning can you get access to the school? Check-in usually opens at 7:30, so you need to be in the building by 7 AM at the latest (earlier if you didn’t set up on Friday).
  • When must you leave? Most tournament finish before 5 PM, but it is best to reserve space until 6 PM.
  • How do you get access to the PA system in the gym? What batteries (if any) are needed for the mic?
  • Can spectators bring food and drink into the gym (note that fencers must always be allowed water)?
  • Where can you get the tables and chairs that you will need? Are you allowed to move them yourselves?
  • What other activities will take place on the same day as your tournament? Do they affect what parking lot or school entrance you can use? If there is an ACT or SAT, you may need to keep fencers away from the part of the school where the test is being administered.

Sample Start Times

Below is a sample of start times for an event. By no means is this a hard guideline.

  • Referee Meeting: 8:15
  • Men’s Check-in close: 8:30
  • Women’s Check-in close: 10:00

Communication With Participating Schools

The Tournament Coordinator handles communication between host schools and participating schools up until the night before the tournament

  • The tournament schedule will be sent out at the beginning of the season
  • Hosts are required to send the requested information to the Tournament Coordinator no later than 5pm on the Sunday before the event via email
  • Participating schools are required to submit rosters no later than 5pm on Friday (8 days) before the event
    • after this deadline, no new fencers can be added to a school’s roster
    • fencers can be removed for any reason up to 5pm on the Wednesday before the event
    • after that Wednesday, fencers can only be removed for medical reasons
  • The Tournament Coordinator will send out the event information as well as strip assignments no later than 5pm on the Wednesday before the event via email
  • Once the Tournament Coordinator has imported the rosters into FencingTime, he will send out the results via email to the participating schools
    • the schools will have 24 hours to notify the Tournament Coordinator of any fencers who were on the original rosters sent who are missing from the import results

Equipment Needed

Check In

You will need a mask tester, also known as a mask punch. It is a good idea to have two people checking masks.

If you do not have a mask tester, they can be bought from many online retailers such as Absolute Fencing Gear.

You will need some way of marking masks and glove that have passed inspection. The most common way to do this is a stamp. If you do not have a stamp, you can draw/write a distinct mark on the mask and glove. Always be sure that both people checking the masks/gloves have the same stamp and color (or marker).

Taping Strips

You can speed up this process by creating a template. You can use ~55’ of non-stretchy cord and make knots at the distances below. It is recommended that you then mark each knot with something like a baggage tag.

  • At one end of the cord: the left end of the strip labelled “A”
  • After 2m: the start of the left warning area labelled “B”
  • After another 3m: the left en guarde line labelled “C”
  • After another 2m: the center line labelled “D”
  • After another 2m: the right en guarde line labelled “E”
  • After another 3m: the start of the right warning area labelled “F”
  • After another 2m: the right end of the strip labelled “G”
  • After another 1.5m: the minimum width of the strip
  • After another 0.5m: the maximum width of the strip

Scoring Table and Electronics

The tournament manager will need a laptop to run FencingTime and a printer. Be sure to verify before the day of the tournament that the laptop works with the printer and that FencingTime can run the tournament with no issues. An optional additional computer can be helpful to keep track of what strips are in use.

Schools are to provide an extension cord (50ft is perfect) with two outlets for each strip.

Other Supplies

Here is a list of things that you will need to buy for each tournament, and things that you are likely to alrady have and just need to bring to the tournament.

Tape for Strips

Use 1” painter’s tape to mark out the strip. If the gym floor is highly polished, you might want to consider using tape designed for delicate surfaces

Tennis Balls

Not required, but if there is a danger of tables of chair scratching the gym floor, you can put tennis balls on the legs to protect the floor.

First Aid Kit

Check if your first aid kit needs to be restocked before the tournament

Check In Table

Have pens available for people to use to check in. Have ink pads and stamps or markers for marking passed equipment.

Scoring Table

  • Paper
  • Spare ink for printer
  • Tape for posting results
  • Spare batteries for PA system mic
  • Pencils and sharpener
  • Clipboards
  • For the team event, have schools bring their own pencils


Management Team

Below is a suggested list of managment jobs. Please do not wait until the week before the tournament to look for people to fill these roles.

  • Tournament Manager
    • runs FencingTime, makes sure the rest of the team is working well together
  • Floor Manager
    • makes sure strips are being used efficiently
    • assigns strips for bouts
  • Tournament Setup
    • oversees taping of strips, settings up chairs/tables, etc
  • Concessions Manager
    • person in charge of concessions and referees’ table


Below is a suggested list of volunteer positions. Having some form of signup is recommended

  • Tournament Setup
    • unless you have a very large team, you should plan on having all your fencers assist with tournament setup
    • at least 4 people should help tape strips
  • Concessions
    • you will need a couple people to setup the concession stand
    • you will also need people to run the stand, this can be the same as the people that set it up, if you want
    • these people should also stock the referees’ table
  • Check In Table
    • you will need at least 2 people to test masks and gloves, but more is always helpful
  • National Anthem
    • a performance of the National Anthem is strongly suggested
    • it should be performed immediately after men’s check in closes
  • Clean up
    • you should have all your fencers stay and help clean up the venue after the event has ended

Fencer Equipment Safety Check

At the check in table, you must perform a safety check on masks and gloves and mark those that pass so that referees can verify.


Masks should have no dents in the mesh, broken wires, or sharp edges. The mesh should be tested properly with a mask tester (punch).

How to test a mask:

  1. Hold the mask up to the light. Look for any large gaps or spaces in the mesh. If a gap is found, you place the punch in that point.
  2. Cradling the mask in your arm, run your fingers over the mesh. If you feel or see a dent, you must place the punch in that point.
  3. Cradling the mask in your arm, place the punch on the mesh. Place your thumb on the flat end of the punch. Press firmly until you feel the cylinder of the punch touch your thumb. Repeat in four different locations on the mask.
  4. Placing the mask on a table, attempt to move the mask gasket with your thumbs
  5. Check for firm attachment of the mask restraining devices (velcro)

A mask fails if:

  • The mask punch goes through the mask to the punch collar
  • The mask gasket moves easily or has spots that are not glued to the mask
  • The mask restraining devices are absent or weakly attached If mask fails this test write “VOID” in large letters across the bib in permanent marker. If a fencer presents a mask with “VOID” or similar written on the bib, do not accept it.
    The mask must have two points of contact with the back of the head, masks with no tongue and only two straps in an “X” should be rejected.

The integrity of the mask’s elastic strap should be tested to ensure that the strap(s) stretches, that the elastic has not been worn out and that the elastic is in satisfactory condition. When stretching the elastic, if there is no stretch or if it is too loose, reject the mask.

Foil and sabre masks are not allowed for GHSFL competition.


Gloves with manufactured holes for body cords may be used. Gloves which have rips, tears, or holes in the upper layer of material may not be used.

Information Included in Other Documents

Each school will have access to this site which contains the following documents which are useful in running a tournament:

  • GHSFL FencingTime Instructions: how to run a tournament in FencingTime
  • Competition Format: describes the GHSFL tournament season

You should be familiar with these documents before running a tournament for the GHSFL.

Medal Ceremony

As soon as the last bout is over, you should award medals to the top four fencers in each event. The league will provide medals. Suggested announcement: “The top four fencers should assemble for the mdeal ceremony wearing full white or their high school fencing team jacket”

Suggested medal ceremony announcement:
“Tied for third place, in no particular order, the bronze medal goes to: [fencer] from [school] and [fencer] from [school]. In second place, the silver medal goes to [fencer] from [school]. In first place, the gold medal goes to [fencer] from [school]”
Pause between each to give out the medal.
Allow time for parents, coaches, etc to take pictures of the medal winners.

Signage, Forms, and Notes

Signs outside the school

Have signs directing visitors from the campus entrance to where they should park, and from the parking lot to the school entrace they should use. These signs should be readable from a distance. “Fencing” in large letters with an arrow works perfectly.

Signs Inside the School

The resources and forms page on this site has a set of signs that you might find useful.

Tournament Signs

This set of signs includes:

  • First aid
  • Various tables
    • sign in
    • mask check
    • etc
  • Directing people to the tournament
  • Directing people to strips in other rooms

Results Signs

This set includes headers to identify the results posted on the wall

School Signs

For this, you can simply print the name of the school in a large font on a piece of paper. This is useful to show schools where their fencers’ bags need to go

Strip Numbers

These signs are just numbers 1 - the max number of strips at your venue

GHSFL Medical Withdrawal form

The resources and forms page on this site also contains the Medical Withdrawal form. You should print a couple copies for your tournament. Any completed forms should be included with the hard copies of pool sheets, DE slips, results, etc and sent to the GHSFL Chair.

Referee Meeting Notes

The referee meeting is conducted by the Bout Committee Chair, who is usually the head coach of the host school. The GHSFL Vice Chair will provide notes on point to be covered in the meeting. If your head coach will not be at the referee meeting, you must inform the Vice Chair so that another head coach can be assigned.

Check In Information

When checking in fencers, please ensure that they are listed on the FencingTime competitor list. If a fencer is not on the check in sheet or on the FencingTime competitor list you cannot add them to the tournament. Schools are given ample time to create and submit their rosters. If a fencer was not on the roster, and thus, not on the FencingTime competitor list, they are not allowed to fence at this event.

If tournament records show that fencers have been added the day of an event, the host will receive a warning. Upon a second offense, the Board may sanction penalties.


Before the Season Starts

As Required

Keep in mind any locations you think your school would be able to host a tournament as well as the maximum number of strips that could fit in this space.

At the Start of the School Year

Make sure you have submitted any required paperwork to reserve the facilities. Check the school’s facility calendar to make sure that it shows your tournament(s) on the correct date(s) and in the correct location.

Acquire any equipment needed for hosting your tournament.

Before the Tournament

A Few Weeks Before

Determine if you can lay strips the Friday before the event, if not, you’ll have to get a very early start on Saturday.

Determine a list of volunteer positions that you will need filled and actively start looking for volunteers.

Arrange for janitorial staff to raise basketball hoops and extend/retract bleachers if needed on the day of the event

The Week Of

Ensure your volunteer positions are filled, if they are not, send out a plea for more. Double check that janitorial staff can do what you need in terms of moving basketball hoops, bleachers, etc.

Tournament Day

Below you can find a suggested schedule for running a tournament

  • 7:00 - set up concessions stand and referees’ table and volunteers should arrive
  • 7:30 - check in opens
  • 8:15 - referee meeting
  • 8:30 - men’s check in closes and National Anthem
  • 10:00 - women’s check in closes
  • 3:30-4:30 - end of tournament (if all went well)
  • 4:00-5:00 - cleanup finished

Created 2022 by James Wallace