2014 Nationals Final Report

The Nats is always an exhausting experience. From the preparation, to the traveling, to the late nights and early mornings, we work ourselves ragged for a tiny bit of glory in this little niche of the hobby. And somehow, it’s all worth it.

As I’m sure you have heard by now we have earned a spot on the 2015 USA F3A World Team! I knew I had to bring my A game for finals day to make it happen and I’m happy with how I maintained good consistency throughout the day. I knew this would be about not making any big mistakes. The finals is a different game now that we take both unknown scores. A big mistake is almost impossible to recover from, although as Jason demonstrated, not completely impossible! I think Jason’s bounce back was the big story from the finals. He zeroed 2 maneuvers in the first unknown and still came back to take 2nd place in the contest. On one hand I’m very impressed and on another I’m a little embarrassed that he ended up beating me! He earned it though. I’ve always looked up to Jason’s geometry and presentation, he really takes it up a level unmatched by anyone else. While I may be disappointed at missing out at a 2nd place, I’m more happy than anything else to just be on the team. It feels very surreal to be headed to my 4th F3A World Championship.

When did that awkward 15 year old intermediate pilot turn into a world competitor? I’m not really sure, I’ve been too focused on preparing for the next contest to even keep tabs. Trying to stay ahead of the curve in the past has been nearly impossible. I made it to the USA Team before I probably should have. The amount of experience I had did not correlate to where I was in my pattern career. I made up for some of that experience with help from my parents and from Bryan – it would still be impossible to compete without that support – but there are some things that only time teaches you. My understanding and know-how has finally caught up with my rank. I’m more confident than I have been in the past, more ready to take on whatever the world championships can dish out. On top of that we’ll be going to Switzerland with the same crew that went to South Africa. We all get along and know each other well, the importance of which can’t be understated.

The team wasn’t the only exciting aspect of the contest though. I want to give a big congratulatory shout-out to Matt Stringer for making the finals his first year in F3A, and on a team trial year no less. We had a very talented pool of F3A pilots this year and to make the finals on a year like that is a great accomplishment. I also want to congratulate Joseph Szczur for becoming our junior team member for the World Championships once again. This time was not so easy, Brian Strachan really gave him a run for his money. It was great to see the heightened level of motivation and competitive spirit going into the Semi-Finals when Joseph realized it wasn’t going to be easy and Brian knew that he had a shot. Kudos to both of you for giving it your all.

I dropped the ball a bit on the blog reporting for the semi-finals and finals. I will get better at that moving forward as I figure out how to balance competing and reporting at the same time. We were going to bed too late every night and it really affected me in the semi-finals. One of those valuable things you learn with time, sleep is very important! I decided to concentrate on the task at hand for the finals and figure out how to keep up with the reporting in the future. We were planning on bringing you some videos from the finals flights as well, but the battery for the camera died near the beginning of the day and we didn’t have a way to charge it. These little hiccups will be sorted out in the future. We are working on getting one round from both Jason and Chad in the prelims, with the associated score sheet for that flight overlaid on the video. We’ll get that up as soon as we can, along with more pictures from the event that haven’t been posted.

Thanks for visiting the blog for the Nats coverage that we did get out! We had a pretty overwhelming response the first few days of the event. We will work to keep the coverage coming for events in the future (including the upcoming 2015 World Championships).

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