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The 8-way competition at the Paraclete XP Indoor Championship would become the first competition of the new lineup, and the ten rounds were completed on Sunday early afternoon. XPGK, with three Golden Knights in the lineup, finished with a 31.3 average at their first meet.
The results after the first ten competition rounds of the new lineup may have dampened instantly any potential hopes of other 8-way teams in the world that the significant personnel change would allow the opponents to get at least a little bit closer to the 8-way world champions.
Fact after Round 10 is the 31.3 average, which includes the six recent changes in the 8-way dive pool. The NSL News had reported on February 17th that the Formation Skydiving Committee of FAI's International Skydiving Commission (ISC) had just recently published the 8-way dive pool changes at the 73rd plenary meeting in January.
Paraclete XP Indoor 2023
In fact, both teams had also competed at last year's 8-way event at Paraclete XP, the U.S. team with the previous lineup, the Falcons with the same team members. They were separated by 44 points (302 - 258) in February 2022, and the difference after Round 10 on Sunday went up to 67 points (313 - 246).
However, it could be expected that the new XPGK lineup would not give up any room for potential 8-way opponents. Two of the three new team members,
Andrew Starr and Jeshua Stahler, both trained and competed with the Golden Knights when the U.S. Army team was at the peak of the world's 8-way scoring and performance level ever, as the NSL News mentioned in the earlier updates.
Andrew Starr and Jeshua Stahler brought their Golden Knights team mate Michael Connors along for the new XPGK lineup, who was selected for the Golden Knights 8-way team in 2021 and competed at the USPA Nationals that year.
Nick Birkner, another member of the latest generation of Golden Knights competitors, completed the 4-way lineup of the U.S. Army team last weekend, who tied the previous 4-way record average that Matt Davidson, John Hoover, Kurt Isenbarger and Brian Krause posted in June 2008. The Golden Knights even outscored the Qatar Tigers, bronze medalists at the FAI Outdoor World Championship 2022. However, there were only three slots available for the new XPGK lineup, and Nick Birkner had to settle with the position of the 8-way alternate.
All of the XPGK members competed in 4-way, as well. Jeana Billings, Kirk Verner, Matt Davidson and John D'Annunzio finished in 5th place with XP4, and Andrew Happick completed three rounds with Arizona Airspeed, as the NSL News reported with the previous update.
It is the first time in U.S. Formation Skydiving history that members of the U.S. Army team officially join forces with civilians for an 8-way team, after a long history of being opponents. Drew Starr and Jesse Stahler are now aiming at improving their own 8-way scoring records by adding their own experiences and skills to the XP8 world-champion lineup of 2021 and 2022.