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Did You Know...

... that Defiance are getting ready for a new battle for bronze at the USPA Nationals?

Airspeed Odyssey reunion at the USPA Nationals 2018
posted Jun 2nd, 2019 - It is not only the race for USPA's 4-way Advanced Class medals that is beginning to shape up, as the NSL News reported on May 26th. Of course, the preparations of the U.S. top teams in the 4-way Open Class competition at the USPA Nationals are in full swing, as well.

This year's first outdoor test will be the annual Paraclete XP Summer Classics later this month, as much as Paraclete's indoor championship event in February was a serious meet experience for teams in the middle of the indoor competition season.

The USPA Nationals 2018 had not offered a battle for the top spot on the 4-way Open Class leaderboard, as Arizona Airspeed was too far ahead of SDC Rhythm XP last year. However, the event featured an exciting competition for the USPA bronze medals between Airspeed's Odyssey lineup (Eliana Rodriguez, Craig Girard, Andy Delk, Brian Johnson, Charles Lane on camera) and Defiance.

Two original Mass Defiance members (Ben Liston, Brian Stephens) had invited Nick Grillet and James "Bu" Klinge once again to challenge the former Airspeed world champions for the USPA bronze medals. Patrick Walker was back on camera, as well. The same Defiance lineup will be back again this year, and the team's complete lineup started with outdoor training last week at Skydive Arizona.

USPA Nationals 2018
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total Avg
Rank 4-way Open J,19,K,22 P,13,A,E H,G,Q,B,21 9,2,L C,14,4 O,16,3 1,15,10 M,20,11 F,D,18,6 5,12,17 Total Avg
1 Arizona Airspeed 23 29 34 28 23 24 19 24 26 25  255 25.5
2 SDC Rhythm XP 20 25 33 26 20 18 17 21 23 20  223 22.3
3 Airspeed Odyssey 20 25 28 22 18 20 17 19 20 17  206 20.6
4 Defiance 19 23 25 21 18 21 15 21 21 19  203 20.3
5 Ranch 2nd Generation 17 22 20 22 17 18 15 17 21 19  188 18.8
Airspeed Odyssey - Defiance - Ranch 2nd Generation at the USPA Nationals 2018
Defiance lineup at the USPA Nationals 2018
image by: USPA/Omniskore
The battle for the USPA bronze medals in the 4-way Open Class will probably be even more exciting than last year. Mass Defiance won USPA's Advanced Class gold medals in 2005, moved up into the 4-way Open Class and competed three more times at the national championships, with a 5th place (19.3) as the highest finishing position in 2007.

Mass Defiance then had a long break (2009 - 2015) before coming back ten years later for a reunion of the original lineup at the USPA Nationals 2016.

Only Pat Walker had replaced Steve "Scuba" Feldman on camera. They finished in the same 5th place and with almost exactly the same meet average (19.2) as in 2007.

Ben Liston, Brian Stephens and new videographer Patrick Walker enjoyed the comeback enough to make new plans for the USPA Nationals 2017. They invited Nick Grillet and James Klinge, and the new Defiance lineup finished once again in 5th place, this time with the team's first 20+ average. The USPA Nationals 2017 was also the first comeback event for Airspeed Odyssey, who finished in 4th place, eight points ahead of Defiance.

Mass Defiance scoring progression at USPA Nationals versus Ranch 2nd Generation
Ranch 2nd Generation's 2019 lineup
The USPA Nationals 2017 was also the event where Ranch 2nd Generation won the 4-way Advanced Class gold medals, as Mass Defiance did in 2005. R2G was one average-point (16.5) ahead of Mass Defiance (15.4) 18 years later.

All three teams were back for the USPA Nationals 2018 with the same lineups, and on the same leaderboard for the first time. Defiance reduced the distance to 4-way Open Class bronze medalist Airspeed Odyssey from eight to three points, and R2G added more than two average points to the 16.5 average of 2017.

Defiance are now aiming at this year's USPA bronze medals in 4-way Open with the same lineup. They started outdoor training with 25 jumps in Eloy last week and spent two hours in the wind tunnel. Defiance will follow up with two more weekend camps before the USPA Nationals 2019 and then the FAI World Cup.

The road to USPA bronze medals may have Airspeed Odyssey as the same major obstacle, if the team is coming back again, as well. However, the most serious threat may come from behind where Ranch 2nd Generation have been making very impressive progress. All three teams could end up fighting it out, and making the new battle for bronze medals once again the most exciting part of the USPA Nationals 2019 in 4-way Open...

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