Skydive Spaceland-Houston in Rosharon, Texas, hosted its third annual Pre-Nationals Formation Skydiving Competition July 20-21. Five teams battled it out in 4-way and 8-way and gained a unique opportunity to get a feel of what it’s like to compete on the national stage. Half of the competitor field at this year’s Pre-Nationals had never competed above the regional level, and all but one team planned to attend the September 2019 Nationals at Skydive Paraclete XP in Raeford, North Carolina.
Spaceland designed the competition to simulate Nationals and prepare competitors beyond simply teaching the dive pools. Competitors received the dives the evening before the competition and had to be ready for an early start Saturday morning, as the first competition load was wheels up at 7:15 a.m. Teams then diligently worked their way through the eight rounds of competition on 40-minute to one-hour calls, learning how to prepare for each jump efficiently while still conserving energy. Spaceland assigned the teams numbers and gave them slates to show their videographers their numbers prior to exiting. Skydive Spaceland utilized OmniSkoreHD! to score the competition, meaning that each team’s videographer was able to experience uploading and marking videos for judging.
Veteran judge Jim Rees served as chief judge for the event. He held a National Formation Skydiving Judge Training Course during the week leading up to Pre-Nationals, ultimately certifying two new nationally rated judges. Having Rees and his newly rated team in the judges’ booth during Pre-Nationals gave teams the opportunity to be professionally judged utilizing the strict criteria established by the USPA Skydiver’s Competition Manual, thus giving them invaluable knowledge to take with them as they fine-tuned their training.
After two full days of competition, Aviatrixx decisively took home gold in the 4-way open class with 111 total points and a 13.88 average over eight rounds. Newcomers Spaceland Toxic Thunder earned the gold medal in the 4-way intermediate class with an overall score of 49 and a 6.13 average. In 8-way on day two of the competition, Aviatrixx BTR took home the gold with a total score of 48 points and an 8.0-point average over six rounds.
Scott Latinis, meet director and former member of Arizona Airspeed, expertly summed up the event by stating, “One of the best ways to prepare for competition is to actually compete. This event gives you a true taste of what to expect when competing on a national level.”
Meet directors are already planning for next year’s Skydive Spaceland Pre-Nationals Competition, slated for July 25-26, 2020. Complete scores and videos for the 2019 Pre-Nationals Competition are available at tinyurl.com/y2qkqf84.
Josh Schirard | D-38085
League City, Texas