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Another team name has been mentioned quite a few times, mostly whenever the NSL News covered the best "amateur teams" in the sport. Mass Defiance from New England actually still owns the highest meet average of the teams that can be considered weekend or amateur teams. The original lineup (Ben Liston, Jim Rees, John Silva, Brian Stephens, with Rick Smith on camera) posted a 19.3 average at the USPA Nationals in 2007.
Arizona Divewerkz and Mass Defiance both formed their first lineups at the same time but competed in different competition classes at their first national championship in 2004. AZDW first attended a few AA Class meets of the Southwest Skydiving League before placing 9th at the USPA Nationals in 2004. Mass Defiance started in the AAA/Advanced Class and placed 4th with a 12.8 average at the same event.
The NSL News coverage of the USPA Nationals 2008 is brought to you with the help of:
That was the event where Mass Defiance's original lineup posted the 19.3 average, the highest US amateur result to date. Arizona Divewerkz already had a few personnel changes by then and posted a 15.8 average at the same competition in Ottawa.
The beginning of the 2008 season brought personnel changes for both teams. MD's Center Inside, Ben Liston, had moved to Guatemala, and Jim Rees took a break from training and competition. Dennis Rook took the Tail slot, as the NSL News reported by then, and the team could only train a few days when Ben Liston came back to visit his home turf in New England.
It turned out to be the exciting race that was to be expected - until Round 10 came along. The 1-pointer for Mass Defiance is still on the leaderboard, and there is also a link to the video of this round. The NSL News had mentioned earlier that more information of the disastrous round would follow. NSL-TV never caught the New England team live on camera in Eloy. However, the team members had no problem talking about the incident.
Mass Defiance's videographer since 2005, Steve "Scuba" Feldman, was not satisfied with his own performance at the USPA Nationals 2008 after missing a few exit counts here and there in Eloy. He decided to change his focus and keep the attention on the movement of the Center Outside beginning in Round 10. Mass Defiance's Center Inside, Ben Liston, had been his key person until then.
It was too late for Steve "Scuba" Feldman. He had taken the move of the Center Outside for granted and left the plane at the time when he expected the team to follow. The damage was done, and he made his way back up to the team to capture three of the last formations within working time. The judges accepted one of them as a scoring formation and awarded a 1-point score for Round 10.
The 1-pointer for Round 10 threw Mass Defiance far back in the world class field of 4-way teams and left a 16.7 average on the leaderboard. Arizona Divewerkz delivered a great 21-pointer in the last round and would most likely have defended the team's 3-point lead successfully. AZDW has now turned into the top amateur team in the USA, and MD will be the challenger from here on.
Mass Defiance moves on and puts together a windtunnel competition at SkyVenture New Hampshire on December 13. Ben Liston is the event manager and will follow up with more information. It will be a 10-round event on one day. Ben Liston can be contacted directly by e-mail.