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There was plenty of drama and unfortunately some bad weather this year in Skydive Chicago, the site of the 2016 World Meet. As usual though, an excellent competition with some close-run battles and a fine spirit of sportsmanship throughout.
In the Open class, it was Arizona Airspeed all the way. Airspeed, fresh off of a 2nd place finish at the World Meet, had only Airspeed to compete against in Chicago. Rhythm performed well, but was unable to win a single round against Airspeed and was only able to share the high score with Airspeed in round 7, the slowest sequence of the meet. In the end, Airspeed was solidly in first with 32 points on Rhythm and Mark Kirkby was able to end his Airspeed career with one more Nationals Gold medal. The competition between 2nd and 3rd was all about Rhythm. Rhythm got or shared the high score with the Bronze medal contenders in seven of the ten rounds and ending up six points above the Bronze medalist.
AARSpeed FS4 way Open at Nationals 2014 – Dan BC, Jack Jefferies, Niklas Hemlin & Josh Hall – The Icing on the Cake
Seems ridiculous, but even after 31 years in a row I am still so damn excited to go to the US National Skydiving Championships
The real race was between the Golden Knights Female 4way team and Carolina Turbo for the Bronze medals. Turbo with new member Nick Grillet was able to run neck and neck with the Women from the Army. If it had not been for a bad exit of block 16 in round 5, the Carolina boys might have been able to secure the Bronze ending up tied with the GKF going into round ten. In the end the military women stayed focused and managed to win the last round and to take 3rd place by one point.
In the Advanced class it started as quite the battle with Dallas 350, Misfits, and Dallas Khaos Black jumping out front of the pack with scores 4 and 5 points ahead of the rest of the field. Round two separated the top two contenders from Khaos Black and then round three put 350 up by one point over Misfits. 350 was able to gain an additional point on Misfits in round 5 and pick up two more points in round 6 due to Misfits having two center point busts on their 1st and 3rd stardian-stardian block. 350 picked up another point on Misfits in round 7 and now with a 5 point lead and not yet having lost a round in this class, it seemed like 350 was sure to take the Gold.
Dallas 350 at US Nationals, Skydive Chicago. Winners, 4way advanced. Ron Hill,Scott Levy, Al Levy, Lucas King, and Scott Latinis.
Then in round 8 a broken subgrip on a monopod block caused 350 to lose their first round this meet and now Misfits were able to gain two points back and bring the spread back to only three points. Round 9 brought disaster for the Misfits, an attempt to launch a zigzag out the door grip complete resulted in a funnel and only scoring 9 points for that round. This put 350 seven points up on the Misfits and helped secure the Gold for Dallas 350. Misfits had a lock on Silver by being a full 10 points up on Dallas Khaos. Bronze was 27 points ahead of 4th place.
In the Intermediate category 1st place was handily won by SPX5 with a 13 point lead at the end. The distance between the 2nd place team Center Point, and 3rd place team Carolina Dynamic was only 3 points, and from there the field got even closer.
In 8 way Open the current World Champion Golden Knights walked away from the pack finishing the meet with a new World Record average for 10 rounds of 23.7. The Golden Knights also had an opportunity to score the highest score in a single round that has stood since the 1997 World Meet in Turkey. The Golden Knights had this same opportunity at the World Meet, but disaster struck when an exit issue resulted in a funnel at the World Meet. This time a communication issue caused a bust and that bust also slowed down the pace. The GK’s almost turned 33 points in time, but the last point was just fractions of a second out and the bust took the 32 points down to 31, tying the World Record.
This competition was Michael LaRoche’s last 8 way jump as a competitor. As with all of the other events so far, the real battle was not for first, but somewhere else in the pack. Airspeed and XP have had a rivalry for many years and the expectation was that the tunnel trained XP would finally be able to beat the throw-together Airspeed 8 way team. But when the smoke cleared, Airspeed had won all but two rounds against XP and ended up six points up and in Second place.
This was the first year of an 8 way Advanced event. The all female team Moxie started strong and never lost a single round. Monster XP ended up in 2nd 20 points behind Moxie, and Perris Prime 8 was only 4 points behind Monster in third.
The 8 way Intermediate class was brought the closest race at the Nationals this year, while Motiv8 was clearly in first place, the Silver was up for grabs. SDCAdrenal8! and Octo-Gun were only one point apart when it was over.
The trend this year seemed to have been in each class a team in first that clearly had done their homework and stepped ahead of the pack and the nails being bitten in 2nd and 3rd place races. As usual Skydive Chicago did a great job hosting, and the Meet Director Bill Winger did a fantastic job running the competition. Chief Judge Randy Connell ran a fair and experienced group of judges providing scores as fast as they could even if that required long days and in some cases, due to weather issues, not being able to score all the rounds the day they were jumped.
Scores and video of all competition rounds are available at Omniskore
Check Omniskore to watch all videos