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Did You Know...

... that the Golden Knights have five new members in the active lineup?

Golden Knights at the FAI World Meet 2014
posted Nov 7th, 2018 - The NSL News mentioned a few times in the aftermath of the FAI World Meet 2018 that the Golden Knights are facing significant changes in the lineup and promised to follow up with more details. New captain Andrew Starr informed the NSL News of the upcoming changes in Australia and took additional time later to provide the details.

Andrew Starr has taken the team captain position that Sean Sweeney took from Brian Krause in 2013. Brian Krause had guided the U.S. Army team through the 8-way comeback in 2009 and won the first FAI gold medals for the Golden Knights since 1997 with the 2012 lineup.

Team Captain Kurt Isenbarger defended the 8-way title successfully in 2014 before Sean Sweeney guided the similar 2016 and 2018 lineups to the next gold medals. Andrew Starr first won a gold medal on the 8-way camera for the Golden Knights in 2012 and then as the alternate in 2014. Next he was selected for the active lineup and won his gold medals in 2016 and 2018.

The last step could become the most challenging one for Andrew Starr. He is in a similar situation as Brian Krause was in 2009. The new Golden Knights 8-way team has only three members who continue with the new lineup (Andrew Starr, Jennifer Davidson, David Flynn). It is probably even more difficult than in 2009, as there is also serious domestic competition (Paraclete XP8) this time.

FAI World Meet 2012
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total Avg
Rank 8-way Open N,21,B,5 14,C,13 22,M,20 17,H,16 J,E,12,4 7,19,15 G,K,8,2 O,L,F,P,A 10,11,18 9,Q,D,1 Total Avg
1 Golden Knights  US  21 19 27 26 26 18 20 28 19 25 229 22.9
2 Aerodyne Maubeuge  FR  22 19 22 23 27 20 20 28 19 25 225 22.5
3 Barkli 8  RU  19 18 22 22 21 15 15 24 16 20 192 19.2

FAI World Meet 2014
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Total Avg
Rank 8-way Open E,3,C,5 F,G,D,21 19,H,2 M,4,1 O,14,A,P 8,J,16 7,11,12 22,20,15 17,G,18 13,B,9 Q,10,N,L Total Avg
1 Golden Knights  US  24 22 15 26 22 21 19 26 21 20 - 216 21.6
2 Barkli 8  RU  19 18 13 25 14 16 16 19 18 13 20 171 17.1
3 Venturi  FR  19 16 14 23 18 13 18 19 15 16 19 171 17.1
Golden Knights at the FAI World Meet 2016
Sean Sweeney, Josh Coleman, Justin Blewitt and Matt Davidson are leaving the Golden Knights after winning all FAI 8-way gold medals since 2012. Larry Miller, another member of the 2012 lineup, left already earlier this year.

There is still a question mark behind Matt Davidson. He and Andrew Starr are trying to get an extension for his U.S. Army service, so he can stay on for at least two more years. For the moment, he will be in the alternate position, and the team will train without him until the decision has been made.

Jeshua Stahler, 8-way world champion of 2014 and 2016, came back this year to help out when Larry Miller left and won his third gold medal in Australia. However, he will go back to the 4-way VFS team of the Golden Knights that he had joined at the end of the 2016 season.

The three remaining 8-way world champions were also the newer members of the previous lineup. Jennifer Davidson became the first female member of the Golden Knights 8-way team after winning a gold medal in 4-way Women in 2016. Now she added her first 8-way gold medal to the collection. David Flynn was on camera for the Golden Knights before he started turning points with the 2018 lineup.

FAI Mondial 2016
1Golden KnightsUS3125262220221926242423923.9

FAI World Meet 2018
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total Avg
Rank 8-way Open 21,L,B,G 22,18,17 19,7,O J,16,12 10,A,D,15 Q,M,F,C,N H,20,P,13 6,14,11 E,2,5 4,1,3 Total Avg
1 Golden Knights US 24 21 18 24 19 29 21 18 17 33 224 22.4
2 Tanay RU 21 21 17 22 20 28 16 18 18 28 209 20.9
3 Qatar Falcons QA 19 16 15 18 14 21 16 14 14 23 170 17.0
Golden Knights at the FAI World Meet 2018
Joe Bradshaw was filming the Golden Knights to the 8-way gold medals in Australia. He now follows the same pattern as previous team videographers and moves into the active lineup, together with alternate John Clavenger, who trained and competed with the Golden Knights 4-way team.

Andrew Starr said that the four new members were selected in May this year, after several interviews with eight candidates and indoor tryouts. Keith Pierce, Nik Grimm, Rico Sifuentes and Andy Sippl are all coming from the U.S. Army's demo team. Andy Sippl will be the new team videographer. One of the three new members may have to switch to the alternate slot if Matt Davidson gets permission to continue with the team. This is currently the new lineup: Andrew Starr (Team Captain), Jennifer Davidson, David Flynn, Joe Bradshaw, John Clavenger, Keith Pierce, Nik Grimm, Rico Sifuentes, Matt Davidson (Alternate), Andy Sippl (Camera).

Andrew Starr said that he wants to get the exit training done with the new team this year, before starting with comprehensive 8-way in March. He plans to attend the Paraclete XP indoor competition in February for the first confrontation with the XP8 team, and he looks forward to running training meets with the strongest opponent on a regular basis in Raeford. It will be an exciting 8-way year in the United States...

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