Maja Kuczynska – Bigger than the Sky
Stunning routine by Maja Kuczyńska
Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge. It brings out all that is best; it removes all that is base
iFLY Seattle, a place exemplary of the word ‘best’, rose to the challenge of hosting a competition with less than 2 months to plan and execute. The Battle of the Blades 2016 was born..
General Manager Darren Dos Santos and Supervisor Jonathan Clark stepped up to the plate to help coordinate and organize a meet for some 78 people competing in 13 events. An undeniably large amount work goes into the planning process, and to only have 2 months to find judges, plan training camps, find sponsors, and the many other small details that go into hosting a great event, is not easy.
The meet kicked off Thursday afternoon with 2way FS, with 4 teams in the #battleoftheblades – from professional skydivers Axis to pick-up team 11-year-old Elijah and Sally. Axis ultimately scored the gold medal, whereupon they decided to kindly donate their winnings to second place winners, Team Squared, a pair of teenage twins out of iFLY Sacramento.
2way VFS, the 3-time most popular event at IBA meets, where 17 teams competed across all 4 classes. Team Blue Knees won Rookie with a 16.5 average, Intermediate gold was captured by Brad & Stryker with a 15-point lead, Advanced was won by Natalie & Lee coming in with exactly 100 points after 6 rounds, and Open was nabbed by the indisputable champs Josh & Mikey of Collective. Collective also took gold at the Rosemont meet, however their total increased by an impressive 42 points in Seattle.
Friday finished with everyone’s favorite – Freestyle and Freestyle Junior. In Freestyle, Mikey Silva came back to win his second gold medal of the day. Notably, all 3 performers were within 1 point of each other after all scores were calculated. Freestyle Junior featured incredible young flyers, with one from as far away as the Gold Coast of Australia! First place went to local flyer 11-year-old Elijah and a close 2nd to Sydney, a great flyer from Denver that has attended all 3 IBA competitions this year.
A full-on Huck Jam tied off an exciting first day of the competition. Energy remained on high well into the next day when the D2W Battle of the Blades began at 5pm. The battle began by splitting the 6 teams into 2 groups of 3. Within each group of 3, each team battles the other 2 teams in Speed rounds. Once these Speed rounds are complete, ‘wins’ and ‘losses’ are totaled to determine the teams’ rankings going into the bracket. In the first round of the bracket, teams performed 2 battles of Free routines. The 2 teams with winning Free routines moved into higher levels of the bracket while the 2 losing teams went to a lower bracket. The final 3 battles then determine overall rankings in the battle. Kyle & Garet of D2Chi ultimately scored the gold by flying fast and unique routines while Nick & Cat, iFLY Seattle Instructors, won silver. The battle between 3rd and 4th proved extra spicy when the VA Beach Boys won the Free routine then the Eloy Crew won Speed, resulting in a Speed tie-breaker. The VA Beach Boys won the tie-breaker, winning them the bronze medal.
4way FS and 4way VFS were up next, flying back & forth between rounds, knocking out the competition. In 4way FS A class, team Orlando took gold with a 21.3 average over team Don’t Have One. In Rookie, team Get a Grip collected a 7.8 average and in AA class team Seattle Airhawks nailed a 16.4 average.
4way VFS also featured 4 teams, with Arizona XForce grabbing the gold with a total of 166 points, 41 more points than 2nd place team Pantene Cartel and exactly 100 points over third place team Kill Bill.
D4W tied off the meet in an exciting Battle of the Blades for 1st and 2nd place. Ultimately team PDXtc flew cleaner and faster routines to nab the gold, while Chicali took 2nd and Ray’s Disciples took 3rd. Ray’s Disciples consisted of previously battling teams VA Beach Boys and Eloy Crew, all of whom have trained under IBA Instructor Examiner Ray Kubiak.
Awards Ceremony and another awesome Huck Jam completed the 2nd night of the Battle of the Blades. Many competitors stayed in the Pacific Northwest for the weekend, enjoying the scenery and fresh snow. It was an event to remember!
A huge thank you goes to the hard working staff of iFLY Seattle Instructors, CSRs, and Supervisors as well as the excellent judging staff of Josh Ruiz-Velasco, Lauren Ruiz-Velasco, Hugh Gregory, Barb Davies, Gorana Mihaljovic, Rusty Lewis, and Rob Witacre, all of whom worked tirelessly to give the best scores to every single team.
You can check all scores, busts, reasons for busts, and times on the InTime website here.