An Amazing Week in Chicago for the US Nationals!
Our own Carolina Turbo XP was the talk of Nationals this year as these five young guys arrived at Skydve Chicago under the weight of much expectation. Since winning both the Intermediate division at the 2009 Nationals and the Collegiate Championships, many in the sport have waited with anticipation to see how these guys would respond. The result? A third consecutive major gold medal and the only team to do so in skydiving history.
I recall nine months ago when Turbo XP was mailing out requests to the major manufacturers to become sponsored athletes...they signed with UPT Vector, Performance Designs, Cypres, Sky Systems and Tony Suits. During the Skydive Expo in Deland earlier this spring (shortly after Turbo XP won Collegiates) I had a conversation with a major equipment rep who had declined picking up sponsorship of this team. With their recent success at Collegiates the rep expressed that it was a major mistake not signing this team especially if they were to go on and win at the 2010 Nationals. His opinion was that these were the new faces and next generation of our sport. After Turbo's dominating victory this year, many would tend to agree. These guys are good! (Read the latest article about Turbo XP and their accomplishment at the National Skydive League website).
(Video of Turbo following their gold medal performance)
There was much talk of how many teams came from our DZ as well. No other DZ had more team representation than Skydive Carolina. Carolina Black Ice brought in a new era for SCPC with their presence within the Open Class division. In Skydive Carolina's history, no team has ever competed in the open class - the highest division of skydiving which matches teams up against full time programs like Arizona Airspeed and the Army Golden Knights.
The Fly Girls represented the DZ in the intermediate class this year and were also a highlight for many, as these mom's and grandmother sang Sir Mix-a-Lot's, Baby Got Back on the way to altitude. To say the Fly Girls gained fans would be an understatement! This team truly had so much fun which is another aspect of the Nationals - it is so much fun!
(below, video of the Carolina Fly Girls after competition)
The staple team of Skydive Carolina - Carolina Ice returned to the Nationals (for the 8th consecutive year) with a new line up of players. Seasoned veterans Joey Freeman and Jan Lane brought in Jurga Berry and Lee Kinser to join them and the team did outstandingly well in the advanced division averaging 11.2 points per round - excellent for a new team of players.
Freeflying is beginning to take off at Skydive Carolina as evidenced by two teams competing this year in this category. Returning for its second year, Carolina Kaboom improved by leaps and bounds from last year's performance as evidenced by the video below from one of their competition rounds. Our newest freefly team - Carolina 3-Fly brought together Kerri Pyne (Delfina), Whitney Garner and Nadia Kellam for their first nationals in this category. The team had their best jumps together while at Nationals and finished low in the standings due to difficulty with video in round 2. Their scores were on par with some of the top teams in the division and they have much to be proud about.
For those that have not experienced Nationals as either a competitor or specator, I'd try to make this one of your goals. Talk to our competitors and feed off the energy they feel having competed with the best in the world and with jumpers like you and I from all over the United States.
In closing, not enough can be said for the staff of Skydive Chicago. They ran an absolutely amazing show organizing 59 formation skydive teams during the first two days of the Nationals. On day two of the competition, the DZ operated 5 Twin Otters (none shut down) from 7:00am right through to the end of the day. The net result was 145 loads, including 108 tandems along with the competition loads. The manifesters were masterful as everyone knew what aircraft they were on throughout the day. They truly did a masterful job and set the standard of how future Nationals should be run. A job well done to the good folks at Skydive Chicago!