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Did You Know...

... that the best US teams are closing in on the world's "amateur" top level?

    DNR lineup at the USPA Nationals 2012
image by: Omniskore/USPA/Skydive Arizona
posted Oct 7th, 2013 - US 4way team DNR re-wrote the US "amateur" story at the USPA Nationals 2012, as the Sun Path Products NSL News had reported on 11 November 2013: "The unofficial US amateur record average has been a topic ever since Mass Defiance posted the famous 19.3 average at the USPA Nationals 2007. It is history now, after DNR (James "Malibu" Klinge, Ben Liston, Brian Stephens, Steve Johnson, with Pat Walker on camera) shattered it a few weeks ago in Eloy with a 20.7 average."

There was not much "amateur" competition for DNR last year. Paraclete XP4 had VFS 4way expert Will Pesek in the lineup, and Carolina Turbo XP was still a weekend team on a lower experience level. DNR was actually looking at the bronze medal position and challenged the Golden Knights throughout the whole meet.

The new 20.7 record average by DNR is still standing, but the situation at the USPA Nationals 2013 was very different.
USPA Nationals 2012Rd. 1Rd. 2Rd. 3Rd. 4Rd. 5Rd. 6Rd. 7Rd. 8Rd. 9Rd. 10TotalAvg
Rank4way Open Class3,B,K,HF,7,22O,4,D,13A,M,11,8N,P,G,19L,20,15,16,J6,21,1218,17,10E,C,Q,15TotalAvg
1Arizona Airspeed (US)30282423 34 222819203726526.5
2SDC Rhythm XP (US)30242324 25 212517193023823.8
GEvolution (CA)24202221 22 192616183322122.1
3Golden Knights (US)23222022 24 172116172620820.8
4DNR (US)26221922 22(-2) 17(-2)2315172420720.7
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USPA bronze medals again for Golden Knights    
Paraclete XP4 was back to formidable 4way strength, and Carolina Turbo XP's transition into a full time skydiving team was very successful. This year's USPA bronze medals were much further away for the "amateur" teams, even though SDC Rhythm XP was only a guest team.

However, two teams were aiming at the same goal that DNR accomplished last year. The new "amateur" benchmark is the 20.7 average of 2012, possibly with a battle for the USPA bronze medals. Arizona Prime and a different DNR lineup came to Skydive Chicago knowing that there would be a tough competition.

The numbers are showing that even the bronze medals would be in reach with the same performance that DNR delivered last year. The 20.7 average would have won the bronze medals at the USPA Nationals 2013. In fact, at least Arizona Prime had the potential to get there. However, the penalty damage (-13) was too big to get close to Paraclete XP4 and Golden Knights.
USPA Nationals 2013Rd. 1Rd. 2Rd. 3Rd. 4Rd. 5Rd. 6Rd. 7Rd. 8Rd. 9Rd. 10TotalAvg
Rank4way OpenG,9,C,PF,5,151,E,84,M,7H,N,B,O,314,20,LQ,K,12,1711,16,1910,A,182,22,DTotalAvg
1Arizona Airspeed (US)38282226 33 232520192125525.5
GSDC Rhythm XP (US)33241826 29 212118181922722.7
2Paraclete XP4 (US)28211923 27 201718151720520.5
3Golden Knights (US)26221722 28 152117161720120.1
4Carolina Turbo XP (US)26191922 24 181917161719719.7
5Arizona Prime (US)28(-2)2213(-5)22(-2)26(-1)1816(-3)17151619319.3
6DNR (US)25(-4)2015(-3)19(-2)24(-1)1817(-1)15(-1)13(-1)1618218.2
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    Arizona Prime at the USPA Nationals 2013
Shannon Pilcher was player coaching Arizona Prime's pursuit of bronze medals and amateur record average. Nick Grillet and Ari Perelman had competed in the Open Class with AZ Plosion at the USPA Nationals 2012, while Don Burnette took the 1st place in USPA's Advanced Class with Vibe as a guest team.

Nick Grillet, Ari Perelman and Don Burnette then competed for USA CAN at the Paraclete XP Outdoor Championship 2013. Shannon Pilcher is a former 4way world champion of 2006 with DeLand Fire.

Arizona Prime had a few outdoor and indoor training camps this year but no competition experience with the complete lineup. The biggest part of the heavy damage happened in the earlier rounds of the meet. AZ Prime joined the scoring battle for bronze medals as soon as the judges began to like what they saw.BORDER=0 height=73 width=630

DNR lineup at the USPA Nationals 2013
image by: Omniskore/USPA/Skydive Chicago
DNR was in a similar situation without much training at all. Ten of the 13 point deductions were assigned in the first half of the meet. Both "amateur" top contenders ended up with exactly the same total damage.

The DNR lineup was slightly different than in 2012. John Silva replaced Steve Johnson, while even team videographer Pat Walker was back for DNR. Three original Mass Defiance members were back together with Jim "Malibu" Klinge, and the 4th MD member, Jim Rees, was once again in the judging room.

This year's DNR average of 18.2 was lower than the Mass Defiance 19.3 of 2007. However, Ben Liston and Brian Stephens still continue to own the highest US "amateur" average, first 19.3 of 2007 and then 20.7 of 2012. Arizona Prime will have to try again in 2014, and the best US "amateur" teams are closing in on the world's top teams, SportLoto and Thunder...

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