Curt Becomes the 2016 US National Champion

The 2016 US Nationals saw a host of amazing pilots arrive, all gunning for the top 8 slots to represent the country at the 6th FAI World Championships in Canada later this year.  The tension was high as the meet got started and everyone was very nervous.  The biggest smile in the hanger was on the face of Jeannie Bartholomew, who got cleared to jump the night before, having finally kicked the bacterial infection in her leg.  The meet got underway with the Speed event.  The conditions were very tough with unfavorable winds.  Tommy Delibac, Curt Bartholomew, Nick Batsch, and Greg Windmiller all came out of the gates swinging.  Unfortunately, Nick pushed a little too hard and verticaled the center of the course resulting in a zero for the round.  Speed kept pushing through in tough conditions and the podium ended up with Tommy Delibac on top, securing the first spot on the US Team with his Gold medal, followed by Greg Windmiller in 2nd and Curt Bartholomew in 3rd.  The meet moved on to Zone Accuracy from there.  The first round saw some great scores from a handful of people.  Curt, Gage Galle, Shane Seydel, and Jeannie Bartholomew all got the top score of 91 points on the course.  As Accuracy continued in difficult conditions the placings shuffled quite a bit.  Curt took a commanding lead of 50 points in the overall scores, and that saw him bring some competition experience in and he backed off a bit, protected that coveted National Championship title.  Guests Marcos Darman and Cornelia Mihai continued to put great scores up on the board.  Marcos made a small mistake, while Cornelia continued to put up great scores with some awesome flying.  The weather continued to be a deciding factor as Curt played it safe, even turning down a rejump on the last round in the final minutes of daylight just to ensure the round would count as everyone else was able to get the jump in under the limits.  Curt Bartholomew ended up taking first place in Zone Accuracy, Nick Batsch got the silver, and Ian Bobo took Bronze.  The final event was distance. Both Nick Batsch and Jay Sanders took zeros in the Speed event, getting the Distance Gold was their last shot at making the US Team.  The weather continued to not cooperate.  Moving to the Distance event it was a struggle to even get all the rounds in.  Nick and Tommy Delibac were at the top of the distance score sheets, while a lot of rejumps were occurring due to wind.  Greg Windmiller, Nick Batsch and a handful of the advanced class competitors had rejumps to do while time was running out.  Competitors sat around all day just to get the 2nd round of Distance completed, giving up hope that the 3rd would even be attempted.  The rejump ended up being costly for Nick, having been sitting in 1st Place with a slot on the US team.  He set up too tight and cost himself a few precious meters, coming just a few short of the Gold while Tommy Delibac passed him for that spot.  When the dust settled, Curt came away with the overall win, followed by Tommy Delibac in 2nd, Ian Bobo 3rd, Greg Windmiller 4th, Matt Shull 5th, Gage Galle 6th, Mikael Stevens 7th, Albert Berchtold 8th which completes the 2016 US Parachute Team.  Mikael Stevens has already confirmed he will not be going to the World Championships, which puts Joe Abeln on the team as well.  Jeannie Bartholomew of Team Alter  Ego also had her best competition to date, which put her in 15th Place Overall.  She set her personal best Speed run 2.411 and her first 100 point scoring run done in Accuracy.  She was sitting on a US Team slot until a mistake (like so many others) in the tricky Zone Accuracy conditions cost her too many points to make up.

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