DeLand Fire and Fastrax will both compete at the IPC World Cup 2005 next week. The Golden Knights, silver medalist at this year's USPA Nationals after an exciting race with DeLand Fire that was concluded with a jump-off, will not attend the World Cup in Eloy. The NSL News asked the team for feedback, and team member Brian Krause kindly provided the perspective of the US Army team.
NSL News: BK, the USPA Nationals are now more than a month behind us, the teams had some time to digest and evaluate the competition. Can you give me a brief summary through the ten rounds of the meet from the Golden Knights perspective, please?
Brian Krause: We seemed to be holding back through the first five rounds. We could not seem to relax and get into the flow of the jumps like normal. We made several small mistakes on every jump and just relied on our speed to carry us through the round. Overall, we could not get the “Go-For-It” going for us. After day one, we knew our lead was slim and we needed to pick it up. Day two was much like day one. We had mediocre jumps with several small mistakes. In round ten, when we almost funneled the first Zircon, we landed and figured we had lost the meet. We were lucky to make it to the jump-off.
NSL News: The battle went back and forth between you and DeLand Fire. How was the emotional situation for the Golden Knights throughout and after the competition?
Brian Krause: There was more at stake at this year's Nationals than in the past, and everyone seemed to focus on his thoughts and concerns more inwardly. The atmosphere was much quieter in the team room than normal. After the completion of day one, we knew that we were lucky to go home with a lead. The second day started out exactly like day one.
Brian Krause: We came to the meet with enough confidence. We knew we could win if we performed like we did in training, but we seemed to get out of our comfort mode.
NSL News: Did the other teams perform as you expected, or were there any surprises for you?
Brian Krause: Prior to the meet, we figured it would be a race between the Knights and Fire.
NSL News: Taking a look at the whole year, how do you see the Golden Knights 2005 season from the hindsight?
Brian Krause: In hindsight, this was the best year as a competitor that I have experienced. Never have I been a part of a team that got along together and performed as well during training. The only thing that was lacking as a team was competition experience. Ultimately, it was the lack of experience that killed us. We all have had competition experience at different times but that was only the 4th competition that we had as a team. We gambled on not going to Russia. We could have used the experience, but at the same time, we were afraid of getting burned out from the travel. We opted to stay home and have a short 8-way camp intermingled with 4-way. It was great to be able to bring back Cary, Vern, Kurt and Eric. We made around a hundred jumps together and came to the Nationals feeling like we had a good chance to win.
Brian Krause: As I am writing this, John has left the team to go back to Special Forces, and Brooks will return to Special Forces in January. During the summer, both of them came down on orders to return to their Special Forces groups in order to support the War on Terrorism. If we would have won the Nationals, those orders could have possibly been delayed until after the World Meet. John has contributed a great deal to the Golden Knights and the skydiving community over the last 10 years and will be missed. We will have a new team sometime in the beginning of November. The Golden Knights demonstration teams will be home, and we will have the opportunity to jump with them and find two future teammates. We hope to be training together by the middle of February. Hopefully, we will be back in the race sometime in the near future. We hope to see everyone at the FSL Shamrock Showdown 2006!
NSL News: Thank you for the information, BK, and good luck for the new team.