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Did You Know...

... that the Golden Knights were familar with the high pressure of Rounds 9 and 10?

Arizona Airspeed's 18th scoring formation in Round 4 - incorrect inter?
posted Nov 12th, 2011 - The NSL News review of the USPA Nationals 2011 continues with the competition videos of the Top 5 teams and their Rounds 3 and 4, courtesy of USPA and Skydive Arizona. The extended leaderboard shows once again the point deductions in those two new rounds.

Arizona Airspeed added two more sole highscores to the team account despite point deductions in both rounds. The penalty situation in Round 3 can be found easily, the NSL News would need help to detect the Airspeed infringement in Round 4. Two of the three judges marked an infringement at the 18th scoring formation.

Perris Fury was the only other Top 5 team that lost points in Rounds 3 and 4, for a total of four busts in the first four rounds. It was costly at this point in time. Fury and SDC Rhythm XP had completed exactly the same number of points in each of the first four rounds, but the penalties put Fury four points behind Rhythm, tied with Golden Knights Gold in 3rd place.

USPA Nationals 2011Rd. 1Rd. 2Rd. 3Rd. 4Rd. 5Rd. 6Rd. 7Rd. 8Rd. 9Rd. 10TotalAvg
RankAAA/Open ClassM,5,1321,14,2212,20,D11,Q,16O,C,10,KP,L,19,818,6,215,9,G7,F,17A,B,N,J,3TotalAvg
1USA Arizona Airspeed 25 19 19 (-1) 22 (-1) 26 24 21 26 31 3024324.3
2USA Golden Knights Gold 18 (-1) 17 18 21 24 23 19 21 29 2821821.8
3USA Perris Fury 20 (-2) 17 16 (-2) 21 26 22 15 21 29 2921621.6
4SDC Rhythm XP 22 17 18 21 24 20 19 22 26 2621521.5
5USA Paraclete XP4 21 16 16 20 23 19 17 22 26 2820820.8
Golden Knights Gold lineup at the USPA Nationals 2009
The Golden Knights had a bad meet opener and were four points behind SDC Rhythm XP after Round 1. However, the Golden Knights recovered very quickly and lost only one more round (Round 8) to the young underdog team. The Gold lineup has been together for a while, and the members are battleproof after going through many nerve wrecking competitions on the top of the leaderboard, whether in 4way or in 8way.

Matthew Davidson (Center Inside), Kurt Isenbarger (Center Outside), Brian Krause (Point), Sean Sweeney (Tail) and Andrew Starr (Camera) knew that patience is a big part of success in competition. They took their time and waited for the opportunity when Rhythm might slip in a round. It was a long wait, but eventually it happened in Round 9 and again in Round 10.

The sequences of Rounds 9 and 10 were the two fastest ones of the whole competition, and the Knights would have a chance as long as they were in striking distance after Round 8. Both the Gold and Black lineups did not have much 4way training this year, as the Golden Knights focused on the 8way event and the big showdown with the French 8way team Aerodyne Aerokart at the World Cup 2011. Keeping in striking distance through eight rounds with a well trained 4way team was challenging enough. However, the broad experiences, skills, energy and mental strength allowed the Gold lineup to be in the right position when the fast rounds came up.

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Silver medals at the USPA Nationals 2011
Matt Davidson and Kurt Isenbarger have been training and competing together in 4way and 8way since 1998. Brian Krause was recuited for the 4way lineup of the US Army in 2004, and Sean Sweeney knows best what patience means. He had to wait a long time until he finally became the 4way alternate in 2006. It took another year until he got a slot in the KnighTrax 8way lineup for the World Meet 2008 in Maubeuge, France.

The current Gold 4way lineup got together for the first time in 2009 when Sean Sweeney had finally earned his 4way slot, and the opportunity came up at the same time with an open slot. The new 4way lineup began with a 21.6 average and a 4th place at the USPA Nationals 2009, while the 8way lineup placed 2nd. Arizona Airspeed then offered the 8way slot for the World Meet 2010 to the Golden Knights, and the US Army focus was back on the other event.

The Golden Knights won the 8way silver medals in Menzelinsk, and the same 4way lineup finished in 3rd place at the USPA Nationals 2010 with a 22.0 average. The US Army focus has remained on the 8way event ever since. However, the 2011 season was the third year for the world class 4way lineup, and the youngest member Sean Sweeney brought in the additional competition experiences of two world meets. It was not really so surprising that the Golden Knights were able to handle the situation and pressure of the second day at the USPA Nationals 2011 as well as they did. Result were the silver medals with a 21.8 average.

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