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Did You Know...

... that Andrew Happick and Doug Barron have a USPA gold medal collection like nobody else?

USPA Intermediate Class gold in 2009: VTSD
posted Jan 22nd, 2021 - The recent visit of the NSL News at Skydive Sebastian included a new NSL Live Talk conversation with Skydive Midwest NEXT. The USPA Advanced Class champions of 2016 are back with a new lineup after a 2-year break.

The conversation with the team touched an interesting topic that deserved more attention. It is actually only one team member who is now back with the new lineup, and Megan George is also the founder of the team. The previous update included a brief overview of the history of Skydive Midwest NEXT.

Megan George and her 2016/2017 team mates accomplished something that has not happened very often in the history of USPA Nationals. In fact, it has happened only twice that the USPA Intermediate Class winners follow up with Advanced Class gold the next year. Megan George, Matt Congdon and Chris Haslam did exactly that, with Adam Elkin on camera.

This NEXT 3-way plus videographer won the USPA Intermediate Class in 2015 with Crystal Prom in the lineup. Then they won the Advanced Class gold medals a year later with new member Daniele Smythe. Megan George was first in the point slot and switched to inside center when Daniele Smythe joined the team.

USPA Nationals 2015
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 Total Avg
Rank 4-way Open Top 5 J,H,2,8 6,D,18 F,9,L,O 1,17,E K,19,N,P 3,7,5 4,A,B,12 11,16,M 15,Q,22 20,14,10 - Total Avg
1 Arizona Airspeed 27 24 43 23 26 25 25 23 21 19 -  256 25.6
2 SDC Rhythm XP 22 21 42 25 27 20 23 20 20 16 -  236 23.6
3 Golden Knights 23 19 37 22 24 19 23 21 19 17 - 224 22.4
4 Carolina Turbo XP 22 20 34 22 25 20 19 21 18 16 -  217 21.7
5 HG XP 15 18 30 18 22 19 18 15 14 12 - 181 18.1
Rank 4-way Advanced Top 5 22,K,F B,11,21 D,Q,H,13 8,1 P,15,J L,O,N,C 20,4 19,2 18,14 6,7 M,E,A,G Total Avg
1 SDMW Next XP 13 14 15 12 15 21 12 12 9 15 - 138 13.8
2 Ragnarok 14 12 15 11 15 17 12 12 11 14 - 133 13.3
3 Air Force Allegiance 13 8 12 11 12 18 10 11 9 15 23 119 11.9
4 Southern Mix 13 12 12 11 12 17 9 11 9 13 22  119 11.9
5 4Mative 13 8 14 8 13 14 9 11 9 13 - 112 11.2

End of the Carolina Turbo XP journey at the USPA Nationals 2015
Megan George continues in the driver's seat for the new lineup, and she now works with Greg Oldendick in the center. Her new rear piece partner is Gorka Amian, who has replaced her 2015/2016/2017 tail, Chris Haslam. Lauren Byrd completes the lineup in the point slot, while her husband Elliott Byrd is filming the team.

The NSL News pointed out during the NSL Live Talk that Megan George is the only current team member who accomplished the two consecutive USPA championship titles in 2015/2016. However, Megan George responded that she and her former NEXT team mates were probably not the only U.S. 4-way competitors with the same achievements.

She mentioned that it would be worthwhile looking into the history of Carolina Turbo XP, who may have done the same, and even earlier. The NSL News did the homework and can confirm that Megan George pointed in the right direction.

The story of Carolina Turbo XP is not new to the NSL News audience, and it is directly connected with current SDC Rhythm XP members Andrew Happick and Doug Barron. The two original Turbo members launched their team under the name VTSD (Virginia Tech Space Dockers) in 2009 and made their achievement even more special. The original lineup (Andrew Happick, Doug Barron, Joey Coffineau, Ben Worrall, with James Sides on camera) did not change after winning the Intermediate Class gold medals, and they followed up with Advanced Class gold a year later.

Andrew Happick's and Doug Barron's scoring progression with VTSD/Carolina Turbo XP and SDC Rhythm XP

NSL Live Talk with VTSD - Competition rounds at USPA Nationals 2009
Ultimate USPA achievements: Open Class gold in 2019
As Skydive Midwest NEXT did after the USPA double-gold in 2015/2016, Carolina Turbo XP continued in the 4-way Open Class at USPA Nationals. That's when they had their first personnel changes, with Joey Freeman replacing Ben Worrall, and Chad Wilcox on camera.

The VTSD/Carolina Turbo XP story was over at the end of a very successful 2015 season. The USPA Nationals 2015 was the last event for Carolina Turbo XP, and it was also the beginning of the double-gold story for Skydive Midwest NEXT. Turbo finished in 4th place on the 4-way Open Class leaderboard with a 21.7 average, while NEXT won the Intermediate Class with a 13.8 average.

Then JaNette and Steve Lefkowitz then invited Andrew Happick and Doug Barron to join SDC Rhythm XP, and they agreed to form the new lineup in 2016. With SDC Rhythm XP Andrew Happick and Doug Barron eventually accomplished something that has really never been done before.

Exactly a decade after winning their first USPA gold medals in the Intermediate Class, Andrew Happick and Doug Barron added the USPA Open Class gold medals to their golden collection. Megan George is back in action with her new lineup, and she is currently the only 4-way competitor in the United States who could copy Andrew Happick's and Doug Barron's achievement...

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