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Did You Know...

... that three former USPA Advanced Class champions compete in the Open Class this year?

Back in Eloy: Craig Girard and Eliana Rodriguez
posted Oct 29th, 2011 - Skydive Arizona was a very busy place on Saturday. It would not be a big surprise if the participation at the USPA Nationals 2011 gets close to previous record numbers. The number of teams in VFS 4way may indicate what to expect in 4way and 8way, as there were two more teams than last year. 53 teams competed in USPA's three categories in 2010, and 19 teams followed up in 8way.

There are several visiting teams from other countries, which will bring a real international atmosphere to this year's event. Former Airspeed 4way and 8way world champions Eliana Rodriguez and Craig Girard have brought their two 4way teams from Dubai to Eloy. They are player coaches and have amazing stories to tell about their teams. They promised to find some time for NSL Talk and more information.

Solly Williams is also visiting with the teams from Qatar that he has been coaching for a while. The members of the Dubai teams have only been skydiving for a year or less and will probably not be able to keep up with the Arabian neighbours from Qatar. However, they will surely have their own internal battle.

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Kris Peterson, here with Morten Pedersen
The Qatar Falcons are still or again without their 4th member. Katie Woods filled the open slot at the spring training camp in DeLand. Solly Williams now has another alternate and player coach in the Falcons lineup who he has been coaching for several years. Max Thiele just recently won the bronze medal with Paratec-Saar at the World Cup 2011 and has been helping out at the recent Qatar training camp in DeLand. He has his debut at the USPA Nationals, as well.

Max Thiele will also meet again the complete Russian 8way team who won the World Cup bronze medals this August over Germany's team EADS. The Russian surprise delegation in Eloy consists of the Sky Panthers Barkli and Black Cat. 8way member Leonid Kazinets explained that Russia has separated the 4way and 8way lineups to focus only on one event. Barkli competes in 8way and Black Cat in 4way.

USPA Nationals 2008Rd. 1Rd. 2Rd. 3Rd. 4Rd. 5Rd. 6Rd. 7Rd. 8Rd. 9Rd. 10TotalAvg
RankAdvanced Class2,10,15F,C,3,HJ,O,4,N20,M,E,1113,12,L9,A,1918,22,D21,17,P6,14,QB,1,G,7TotalAvg
1CSC Rhythm XP 15 19 22 16 12 21 14 16 16 1816916.9
2Centerline XP 12 18 18 17 13 13 13 12 11 1514214.2
3Perris Katalyst 11 16 17 13 13 15 10 12 12 1413313.3
Cherie and Karl Schuch
There will also be an interesting situation in the female 4way category, which is a part of the Open Class competition. Perris Blitz has disbanded, and the members went their own ways. Flemming Borup Andersen is looking for a new ambitious lineup and competes as a player coach in the meantime.

Kris Peterson, the other Blitz founding member, has already joined a new lineup. She competes with Alpha Armada members Becky Brocato and Annaliese Peterson. Lara Eisenberg, former Cross Keys Vision member, is the 4th member. This lineup may have the potential to offer the Golden Knights and SDC Furies XP a competition for the top spot in the female 4way category. The winner goes to Dubai next year...

USPA Nationals 2009Rd. 1Rd. 2Rd. 3Rd. 4Rd. 5Rd. 6Rd. 7Rd. 8Rd. 9Rd. 10TotalAvg
RankAdvanced Class13,20,18D,10,316,15,KG,Q,L,8B,17,21A,N,H,P,O1,14,M19,12,J5,11,C22,9,ETotalAvg
1SDC Furies XP 11 11 9 11 14 23 14 12 12 1413113.1
2Ranch Fallout 9 12 11 14 14 21 11 10 12 1512912.9
3Spaceland Havoc 10 12 11 13 13 18 10 11 10 1312112.1
First Nationals in the Open Class: Carolina Turbo XP
Lara Eisenberg's former Cross Keys Inferno team mate, Teiwaz member Cherie Schuch, is a judge at the USPA Nationals this year. She competed with Teiwaz at last year's event and will sit in the judges' fish bowl beginning on Monday. Her husband Karl Schuch will compete in 4way and in 8way.

Carolina Turbo XP is also back in Nationals action after two previous meets at the Carolina Skydiving League this year. It will be the first national championship in the Open Class for Turbo. The Carolina team won the Intermediate Class gold medals in 2009 and followed up with a set of Advanced Class gold medals in 2010. This forces Turbo into the Open Class competition where the pros and amateurs are in the mix together.

USPA Nationals 2010Rd. 1Rd. 2Rd. 3Rd. 4Rd. 5Rd. 6Rd. 7Rd. 8Rd. 9Rd. 10TotalAvg
RankAdvanced Class16,21,113,L,K,106,22,112,20,4Q,M,2,NH,D,9,G19,5,13F,E,17,OC,8,7A,18,14TotalAvg
1Carolina Turbo XP 11 13 13 12 17 19 12 21 15 1214514.5
2Fallout 13 10 12 10 17 19 10 20 15 1313913.9
3Quattro 10 10 10 12 18 18 12 15 14 1113013.0
Lineup for Halloween: Thomas Hughes and Bill Schmitz with Whitney Reighley
USPA does not have a defending champion, neither in the Advanced Class nor in the Intermediate Class. This situation brings together three former Advanced Class champion teams in this year's Open Class competition. SDC Rhythm XP won in 2008, and the two founding members, JaNette and Steve Lefkowitz, are now competing for Open Class medals with the best teams in the world. SDC Furies XP won in 2009 and moved up last year, now it is Turbo's turn.

Saturday night is Halloween party at the Bent Prop, and Arizona Airspeed members Thomas Hughes and Bill Schmitz prepared to do their share to scare the night crowd at the dropzone. Airspeed has scheduled a light training day for Sunday before the competition draw will take place at the end of the day.

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