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This indicates how strongly committed 4way teams and competitors have become to their goals and team projects. It also shows very well how much fun the teams have and how 4way training and competition is more than a passion and close to a serious addiction.
It wasn't always like that, not at all. In fact, it used to be an exception when the winning team of USPA's Advanced Class, which is basically identical with the Open Class except the qualification requirements, would continue in the Open Class competition next year. It has not unusual between 1999, the first year of USPA's Advanced Class in the current format, and today that teams would compete in the Advanced Class for a few years and try to win a set of medals. However, stepping up into the Open Class competition was a different story.
|USPA Nationals 2011||Rd. 1||Rd. 2||Rd. 3||Rd. 4||Rd. 5||Rd. 6||Rd. 7||Rd. 8||Rd. 9||Rd. 10||Total||Avg|
|4||SDC Rhythm XP||22||17||18||21||24||20||19||22||26||26||215||21.5|
|12||Carolina Turbo XP||14||10||13||15||17||14||13||16||18||20||150||15.0|
|15||SDC Furies XP||13||11||12||16||7||15||13||16||19||18||140||14.0|
The early years of the Advanced Class did not see many teams at all motivated enough to compete in the Open Class while they were still the same weekend amateurs as in the year when they won the Advanced Class competition. Team Frost, winner in 1999, was the first team coming back to compete with two new members in the Open Class of 2002. Teiwaz, winner in 2000, did the same a year later, also with a very different lineup.
The situation began to change when Mass Defiance won the Advanced Class competition in 2005. The New England team came back year after year to compete in the Open Class, and other Advanced Class winners began to follow the Mass Defiance example. The MD members obviously knew and accepted that they cannot win the Open Class, as well, and just enjoyed the competition in the "Big League".
The next step happened in 2010 when the latest Advanced Class champion of 2009, SDC Furies XP, came back in the Open Class, together with 2008 winner SDC Rhythm XP. Mass Defiance, with Scott Latinis filling in for Jim Rees, was still around under a different name (Amphibious Attack Tigers) and made for the third former Advanced Class winner in the Open Class of 2010. Carolina Turbo XP won the Advanced Class the same year and was ready to move up into the team's third category in three years.
And that's exactly what happened at the USPA Nationals 2011. Turbo came back with a new team member and joined the former Advanced Class champions SDC Rhythm XP and SDC Furies XP, while the four original Mass Defiance members were scrambled all over the Open Class leaderboard (DNR, Team Captain) and the judging room (Jim Rees). Spaceland Lite can join the group of former Advanced Class champions in the Open Class next year in Eloy.