Spaceland Sport Accuracy Competition Draws 49 Competitors
By Christy West
In early October, Skydive Spaceland celebrated the fifth anniversary of its now biannual Sport Accuracy Competition with its biggest one yet! The October 5-6 competition drew 49 competitors, with all five Spaceland DZs (three in Texas, one in Florida and one in Georgia) participating at some point in the weekend (which Mother Nature doesn’t always allow). Skydive Spaceland began these popular competitions—which never have an entry fee—in partnership with The Ratings Center in 2014 to help increase the focus on safe, accurate landings. Wing loadings ranged from 0.79 to 2.0.
TRC generously provided canopy coaching for the practice jumps, the three-round competition and the rest of the weekend at most locations. Competitors learned lots from group video debriefs of each round. The competition mostly followed USPA Collegiates sport accuracy rules, in which judges score competitors on the distance from their first ground contact to the target. Competitors incur penalties for complete misses of the target area, not containing the landing within the target area and for not landing completely on their feet. Often, all competitors incur some penalty or another across the three rounds. However, this time six of the 49 competitors went penalty-free, so the competition for the grand prize of a free day of jumping was fierce!
“It’s not every competition where someone can get two dead centers in three rounds and still end up fifth in their class,” said Skydive Spaceland–Houston Meet Director Christy West. “This was an excellent competition, and we’re really seeing the evolution of skill and safety over the years in all classes.”
In the end, C.D. Richardson in Houston won the overall competition with a grand total of only 8.46 meters! In the novice class for jumpers with fewer than 100 jumps, Natalia Trevino from Skydive Spaceland–San Marcos in Fentress, Texas, had the lowest score of 53.66 meters. Richard Drew from San Marcos swept the intermediate class (101-350 jumps) with 10.39 meters. In addition, the top three jumpers in each class at each location won discounted jump days. Complete scores are online at bit.ly/2nPAdk0.
It took many people to direct and coordinate the meet across five drop zones in three states. Brandon Radcliff hosted and coached the meet at Skydive Spaceland–Clewiston in Florida with Mauricio Martinez taking photos. Lisa Bailey hosted the meet at Skydive Spaceland–Atlanta in Rockmart, Georgia, with Christian Jones’ help. Lauren Young hosted at San Marcos with Danji Marvin coaching and Megan McNamara taking photos. Leslie Hanna hosted at Skydive Spaceland–Dallas in Whitewright, Texas, with Daniel McLaurin coaching and Deanna Anderson, Taryn Ecton and Christy Clevenger assisting. West hosted in Houston with Josh Schirard and Amanda Richie assisting, David Quist coaching and Cindy Guire taking photos. The manifest staff also played a big part in making it work.
“Just do it!” said Houston masters-class competitor Brian Lawson to those considering the competition in the future. “Take advantage of the coaching, as we often forget about improving those skills.”
Spaceland and TRC will continue to hold these popular meets biannually and will release the 2020 schedule soon.
Christy West | D-21464