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Did You Know...

... that Stetson University's Back-to-School Boogie included a Rookie Class Scramble?

Alex Bittner
posted Oct 9th, 2008 - The Stetson University Skydiving Club recently organized a "Back-to-School Boogie" at Skydive DeLand. Alex Bittner, President of the Stetson Club and passionate 4-way jumper, asked the NSL to help manage a Rookie Class Scramble event with the goal to attract students to 4-way competition.

The request found an open door since the NSL wants to connect to the colleges and universities across the country. In fact, plans are in the works to create a network that adopts the NSL structure and eventually connects the College/University Network with the NSL Network.

Stetson's Alex Bittner and NSL's Kurt Gaebel first made plans for the "Back-to-School Boogie", which took place on September 26-28, and decided to follow up with an evaluation and a planning session for the future cooperation.

The 4-way Rookie Class Scramble was one of many Stetson activities that weekend and was a casual introduction to 4-way competition on Sunday. A short workshop for the participants on Friday evening included an overview of the National Skydiving League and the plans for Sunday.

Jamie Cruce with one of her lineups
Jamie Cruce and Kurt Gaebel guided the three Rookie Class lineups through a casual meet environment as player coaches on Sunday. The teams completed three rounds, one training round and two competition rounds.

The Presidents of two other College/University clubs joined the 4-way event. Jimmy Scarpelli represented the Embry Riddle School in Daytona Beach, Camden Gonzales is heading the Falling Gators of the University of Florida in Gainesville. Alex Bittner, Jimmy Scarpelli and Camden Gonzales are all highly motivated to bring 4-way competition to a higher level at their clubs and plan to work even closer together from here on.

Alex Bittner wrote the report of the whole event.

Back-to-School Boogie

Where: Skydive Deland

Hosted by: Stetson Skydive Club

Sponsored by: Performance Designs, United Parachute Technologies, Sky Systems, Alti-2, Merlin Suits, National Skydive League, Sunrise Manufacturing, Ocean Deck Restaurant and Beach Club, Skydive Deland,, CAD Enterprises, S. R. Perrott, Inc., Skydive Deland, Deland HybridXP, and the Falling Gators

First and foremost, I would like to thank all of the sponsors and supporters that helped make this event possible. Skydive Deland was gracious enough to let us bombard their already busy dropzone for the weekend. Amidst the students from Qatar and Deland HybridXP training for Nationals, we were able to come together for tons of fun jumps out of the Twin Otter and the Skyvan.

The weekend started out with fun jumpers and interested spectators enjoying the near perfect weather on Friday afternoon. Several jumpers from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU), University of Central Florida (UCF), Stetson University, and the University of South Florida (USF) came out for some organized tracking dives with members of Team D3. After the tracking jumps and some mildly organized relative work jumps, we enjoyed the setting sun on the deck of the Perfect Spot with our free keg of Miller Lite keeping us entertained, to say the least.

Jump preparation with Jamie Cruce
After hanging around the Perfect Spot for a while, the party moved on over to the Stetson campus where the Stetson Skydive Club co-hosted an Open Mic Night concert including local acts from the study body as well as the well-known group "Band Marino." Registration on Friday totaled nine fun jumpers, primarily consisting of college students who call Skydive Deland their home DZ.

Saturday morning we started the day with an informational seminar about FS and VFS disciplines hosted by Deland HybridXP. The seminar covered everything from basic concepts in grip lines and exit procedures to advanced techniques in transitioning and training.

Dirtdive for the first competition round
After the seminar, a tracking dive was organized by Bill Schmitzer of Sky Systems that was a ton of fun. Prior to the jump we had the arrival of four members of the Falling Gators skydive club of the University of Florida in Gainesville. Camden Gonzalez, President of the Gator crew, joined the tracking dive just as soon as he and his team had checked in, registered, and received their boogie bags and shirts.

After carving through the air with the tracking group, we were able to organize two formation loads with the help of local jumper Martin Sutton. The formations didn't happen exactly as planned, but everyone had fun and stayed safe on the 11- and 10-way jumps.

Saturday was concluded with a Swoop-n-Chug in the peas of Skydive Deland with Miller Lite cups held out by two of the Gator jumpers, Emily and Jolene. Camden and I battled it out but my landing right next to the UF lovelies left Camden without a chance, haha.

No jump without creeper work...
After the friendly competition we were joined by Kurt Gaebel of the NSL who hosted his own seminar on the workings of the NSL and the format of 4-way competitions. We then hung around the Perfect Spot for more free Miller Lite and entertainment by the musical genius of Ian Guthrie, a Stetson student. During the DJ set, prizes were raffled off to those present and some other goodies were distributed to the boogie attendees. Registration on Saturday totaled ten fun jumpers including the Falling Gators and some locals willing to support the event and club.

Sunday morning was a bit more difficult to start up early, but we all made it out to the deck at 8am to meet with Kurt and draft up teams for the 4-way Scramble that ensued. A total of ten participants were divided up into three teams of four including the two player coaches, Kurt Gaebel and Jaimie Cruce. Local flyers Seth and Amanda shot video with the teams as they competed in a practice round and two subsequent rounds of competition, exiting from both the Twin Otter and Skyvan.

Video footage of the three rounds of flying can be found on the Stetson Skydive Club website, At the end of the day no exact winner was declared, but we all learned a lot from Jaime and Kurt as they debriefed us on each jump and worked with each team and individual to improve form and technique in the air. Sunday ended with a final debrief about the competition and some talk of future events and work with the NSL.

Registration on Sunday totaled two fun jumpers from France, bringing the total number of registered jumpers at the boogie to twenty-one. We also had a total of eight students from Stetson come out and enjoy tandem skydives, experiencing the sport for the first time. Jumpers came from the universities mentioned as well as France, Great Britain, and the Deland area. The event was a lot of fun with great weather, lots of jumping, and good people. We hope to make this an annual event and will keep all of our supporters informed of future events.

Blue Skies

Alex Bittner, President Stetson Skydive Club - - (386)299-0590

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