Collegiate Competitors Shine in Sunny Florida!

1/4/16

USPA’s 2015 National Collegiate Parachuting Championships wrapped up on Friday, January 1, at the Florida Skydiving Center in Lake Wales. All rounds completed in one of the most successful collegiate meets in memory, starting with a turnout of 101 competitors (34 more than last year) representing 16 colleges and universities across the country.

FSC host Betty Hill’s highly efficient manifest and jump operations allowed Meet Director Randy Connell to squeeze the most out of every hour of daylight (essential after losing three hours each morning due to fog), completing 2-way and 4-way formation skydiving and 2-way vertical formation skydiving in the first two days.

Air Force Smolder (2015 USPA Nationals 4-way advanced champions) not too surprisingly won 4-way open with a terrific 19.67-point average. The Air Force swept the medals in the open class. In the 4-way advanced class, Army West Point Revival won gold with an 11.5 average, just ahead of CT True Blue from the University of Connecticut. West Point’s Calvin & Hobbs blazed through 33 points in round one of FS 2-way to set a collegiate record on their way to a gold medal. In 2-way VFS, brothers Andre and Joe Gerner, aka Eagle-Bear (2015 USPA Nationals mixed formation skydiving advanced class champions) ended their collegiate career on a high note, averaging a brilliant 14.5 points per jump to win gold against a field of six teams.

Next classic accuracy took center stage, with a strong field of 15 competitors. West Point’s Kris Hayhurst set a Florida state record with 0.28-meter total after four tough rounds to win the gold. His teammates Nathaniel Volk and Jordan Komm took silver and bronze, respectively. The West Point 4-way team Hayhurst and Friends won the team accuracy event.

A record 10 teams entered the 6-way FS speed event. The rising skill level was immediately apparent when the 7.52-second mark set in 2012 fell in round one to West Point Break-up Six, with a blazingly fast 5.92-second jump. The 6-way six-second barrier had fallen, and in the next round, the Air Force team built its 6-way in a mind-boggling 5.26 seconds. The West Point juniors hung in there with fast times of 7.02 and 8.22 to win gold ahead of Air Force.

The meet climaxed with a whopping field of 86 sport accuracy competitors. The gold medal in the novice class went to Air Force Wings of Green sophomore Joseph Wilde. In the intermediate class, Zach Vasnick of UConn took the gold with 4.71 meters. In the masters class, Joe Gerner and Jordan Komm tied with a perfect score after four rounds. Gerner scored a fifth dead center to win the jumpoff, followed by two more zeroes before sunset to set a new collegiate sport accuracy record—a remarkable seven in a row on the 16-inch (25-centimeter) sport accuracy dead-center target.

Competitors enjoyed a well-attended banquet and awards ceremony Friday evening. West Point’s Jordan Komm won the most competitive collegiate skydiver award. The Army’s West Point Firsties won the new eight-person team event and were awarded the reinstated Gavin Gavel. Look for a full report in the March Parachutist. For complete results visit OmniSkore.com.


Photos by Laszlo Andacs | www.laszloimage.com  Photos by Laszlo Andacs | www.laszloimage.com  Photos by Laszlo Andacs | www.laszloimage.com  Photos by Laszlo Andacs | www.laszloimage.com