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Did You Know...

... that scoring points were not given easily at the Shamrock Showdown?

Sharp judging at the Shamrock Showdown
posted Mar 18th, 2008 - The total number of penalties in Round 1 was 13, which indicates that every other team did not perform up to the required judging standards in this round. This was only the beginning, and Round 2 had already a total of 17 penalties on the DDC Scores System screen after the 27 teams were done.

However, there were hardly any complaints, as Eric Heinsheimer and Jukka Olkkonen treated all teams the same way and did not let any infringements slip through. The very sharp eyes of the former national and world champion of the Golden Knights detected the flaws.

Even the top teams did not get away with anything when they were trying to "sell" a point to the judges by moving on "in synch" to cover up for a flaw in the dive flow. Airspeed Odyssey, Team Fastrax, Golden Knights, Fastrax Blue, Fortitudo are all well trained teams and competitors. Each of these teams received penalties in Round 1.

Golden Knights' Round 2 at the FSL Shamrock Showdown 2008 - see video
Eric Heinsheimer with the Golden Knighs after winning the USPA Nationals 2002
France Maubeuge lost even two points in Round 2, as well as Russia's team Black Cat. Canada Evolution, Team Fastrax, Golden Knights and Perris Fury were the other top teams that lost points in the second round of the competition.

Four of the five US top teams had already lost points after Round 2. Only DeLand Groove was still clean and held the second place behind Airspeed Odyssey at that time. These four US teams that will not compete at the World Championship of Formation Skydiving in France this year (Golden Knights, DeLand Groove, Team Fastrax, Perris Fury) helped to set a new record of teams scoring above the 20.0 average level.

Each of these four teams would probably be in medal contention in France. However, Airspeed Odyssey was once again the strongest US team in DeLand. This was no surprise since the Golden Knights and Team Fastrax have to focus on the 8-way competition where they will represent the USA in France with Team Knight Trax.

Team Fastrax' Round 2 at the FSL Shamrock Showdown 2008 - see video
DeLand Groove at the Shamrock Showdown 2008
The Golden Knights competed with their complete lineup of the 2007 season (John Hoover, Kurt Isenbarger, Brian Krause, Matt Davidsen), while Team Fastrax had only Thomas Hughes and Doug Park available. Two former XL teammates of Thomas Hughes filled the open slots, Pete Allum and Steve Hamilton. Some people in DeLand called the team FastraXL throughout the weekend...

Doug Park gave up his Center Outside slot and moved to the Point position. Steve Hamilton was his front piece partner in the Center Outside slot. Pete Allum took John Hart's Tail position that he has been flying for Italy's national team Sinapsi PD, as well.

DeLand Groove competed with the same lineup that completed a 1-week training camp at the end of January this year, as the NSL News reported on 6 February 2008. The three reigning 4-way world champions (Gary Smith, Shannon Pilcher, Ian Bobo) joined forces with former DeLand Genesis and PD Blue member Kyle Collins, who took the Point position in training and competition. Perris Fury's videographer Niklas Daniel flmed his own team and DeLand Groove, as well.

DeLand Groove's Round 2 at the FSL Shamrock Showdown 2008 - see video
Kyle Collins with PD Blue in 2001
The little training that the lineup for the FSL Shamrock Showdown 2008 was not enough to challenge Airspeed Odyssey seriously. However, the 24.1 average was the highest result for DeLand Groove and a new personal best for Kyle Collins. The DeLand Groove members still dream of a better training situation one day.

Perris Fury was not able to complete the same number of rounds as most other teams. Christy Frikken, Josh Hall, Uli Steuwe and Chris Farina, filmed by Niklas Daniel, continue to challenge Airspeed Odyssey meet by meet and get a little bit closer every time. Perris Fury tries to gain the same competition experience that the Odyssey members have collected over the years to prepare themselves for the USPA Nationals 2009 and then the World Meet in 2010.

The ranking on the frontpage is probably what the Perris team has in mind for the future. However, the top three rankings of each competition class is based on each team's meet average, while the actual leaderboard at the event page calculates the total number of points.

Perris Fury's Round 2 at the FSL Shamrock Showdown 2008 - see video
Airspeed Odyssey at the World Challenge 2007
The 26.2 average after six rounds includes all the faster sequences and leaves out the scores for the slower rounds later in the meet. Perris Fury's performance was still sharp and produced world-class scores once again.

The US challenger will continue to match up with Airspeed Odyssey and follow the Arizona team to the United Kingdom in ten days. The World Challenge 2008 will be the third competition in three months for both teams. It will be the next opportunity for Perris Fury to get closer to the world's current top contender.

All videos of Round 2 are now available on NSL-TV, thanks to Randy Romero. Enjoy the show.

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