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Did You Know...

... that a visit at Eloy for ASL meets is well worth the travel?

Teams at the August meet of the Arizona Skydiving League
posted Aug 20th, 2019 - The recent update from Skydive Arizona and the August meet of the Arizona Skydiving League included the coaches who were helping the teams through the 6-round meet with their advice. The NSL News mentioned the wealth of 4-way experiences that were available for the participants. The group of coaches was so extraordinary that the meet update deserves a follow-up story that zooms in on the people who organize events, make their living by helping teams with coaching and are still active in the sport, as well.

At the beginning of this year, Eliana Rodriguez and Michelle Karamon re-activated the Arizona Skydiving League, which had been hibernating after the end of the 2011 season and one more meet in February 2012. There was another attempt to bring back the league in 2015, which did not turn out very successfully either.

They scheduled monthly meets at Skydive Arizona in Eloy, and the league has been in full swing this year. Eliana Rodriguez and Michelle Karamon both have more than enough 4-way and event experiences alone, and they have still invited additional world class coaches to offer the participating teams and competitors special services at each meet.

Eliana Rodriguez' competition career is well documented in her NSL Profile, which has been updated three times since it was posted in 2000. Her accomplishments can be summed up quite easily. Eliana Rodriguez is the only Formation Skydiving competitor in the history of the sport who has won three FAI gold medals in three different events: 4-way Women (2001) - 8-way Open (2004) - 4-way Open (2008).


Coaches of the Arizona Skydiving League 2019: Andy Honigbaum - Niklas Hemlin - Eliana Rodriguez - Michelle Karamon - Mikhail Markine - Craig Girard
4-way Open Class world champion in Maubeuge 2008
Eliana Rodriguez is also still active. The NSL News reported on 27 September 2017 that Airspeed Odyssey had a successful and competitive reunion at the USPA Nationals the same year. They had so much fun with their reunion that they were back a year later and won the USPA bronze medals in 4-way Open.

The finishing position at the USPA Nationals 2018 qualified Airspeed Odyssey for the FAI World Cup 2019, where they will even be back on an international FAI leaderboard in October. The FAI World Meet 2010 in Menzelinsk was the last time that Airspeed Odyssey competed at a world meet or world cup, and Eliana Rodriguez will be back in her point slot.

Her Arizona Skydiving League partner Michelle Karamon does not have the same number of medals. However, her 4-way team Ranch 2nd Generation has been the shooting star in the United States, and she also won her first FAI gold medal with the Paraclete XP 8-way team at the FAI Indoor World Meet this year.

Eliana Rodriguez and Michelle Karamon alone would be more than enough reason for teams and competitors to run to Eloy for the monthly meets of the Arizona Skydiving League. However, they have also been offering the coaching services of Arizona Airspeed's team captain Niklas Hemlin on a regular basis, and once again last weekend.


FAI Mondial Dubai 2012
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total Avg
Rank 4-way Open 5,12,E 6,D,B,K O,8,7 N,13,18 10,21,M 19,H,11 C,G,1,A 20,9,15 16,F,P,Q 2,J,4 Total Avg
1 Arizona Airspeed US 27 34 27 22 23 23 32 25 40 26 279 27.9
2 NMP-PCH Hayabusa BE 25 34 27 21 23 24 32 27 40 25 278 27.8
3 Aerodyne Aerokart FR 26 30 27 21 23 25 29 23 37 24 265 26.5
Arizona Airspeed and NMP PCH HayaBusa at the FAI World Meet 2012 in Dubai
8-way Open Class world champion in Croatia 2004
Niklas Hemlin still owns the highest outdoor meet average in 4-way history (27.9) that Arizona Airspeed posted at the FAI World Meet 2012 in Dubai, where they won the gold medals by one point over NMP PCH HayaBusa. His Airspeed lineup of 2018 missed the same record mark by only two points in Australia last year.

Mikhail Markine has been his Airspeed team mate since 2016. He would be a 2-time 4-way world champion by now without the Belgian 4-way powerhouse. Mikhail Markine trained and competed with SDC Rhythm XP before he was recruited by Airspeed. He has been helping Eliana Rodriguez and Michelle Karamon at most of the Arizona Skydiving League meets this year.

Then there is Formation Skydiving legend Craig Girard, one of the most successful Formation Skydiving competitors in history, and one of the most popular 4-way and 8-way coaches in the world. He has shown up at a few ASL meets, as well, whenever he was in Eloy between his coaching and organizing world travels.

Andy Honigbaum was only visiting with his Air Force Academy teams last weekend. He was in Airspeed's Blue lineup of 2004, together with Eliana Rodriguez. Airspeed's 8-way lineup of 2004 won the FAI gold medals the same year in Croatia, with Eliana Rodriguez, Andy Honigbaum and Craig Girard in the lineup. A visit at one of the Arizona Skydiving League meets is obviously well worth the travel...

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