2019 USA Junior F1D Team Selection Contest report - John Kagan
Congratulations to the USA Junior F1D team for the 2020 World Championships:
Josiah Rose, Anjulie Sorbello, and Andrew Welter.
First Alternate: Monet Ramacciatti
Second Alternate: Christopher Luo
What a spectacular end to a long and twisted journey.
The Junior Team Selection contest was originally scheduled to be held in conjunction with the Senior contest over Labor Day weekend at Lakehurst. Then we temporarily lost access to Lakehurst and had to move the Senior contest to the Kibbie Dome in Moscow, Idaho earlier in the year. Some of the juniors expressed that they would not be able to make the trip to the Dome, so we decided to split off the Junior contest and hold it separately at Rantoul, Illinois in October. Then we lost access to Rantoul. By this time Lakehurst was available again, with 3-day weekends on Labor Day and Columbus Day being the prime options. Finally, Columbus Day was chosen to give some of the participants more time to prepare. Whew!
Despite the risks of scheduling a meet at Lakehurst in October (past the end of the usual season), we lucked out with a great three-day weekend. It was about 70 degrees, sunny, and high-pressure. There was some of the usual drift to deal with earlier in the days, but the air did the normal positive progression in the later hours. With the shorter fall daylight, the “golden” period came a few hours earlier than we are used to, and the normal round times needed to be pushed up.
The US Team Selection contest format involves three rounds per day, for three days, giving nine rounds total. The combination of the best two flights out of nine is the competitor’s score. The top three finishers are the three-person team that go the World Championships, and the fourth place finisher is the first alternate.
Anjulie kicked things off with three excellent, and consistent, flights on the first day, logging 18:35, 20:34, and 19:45 in rounds 1, 2, and 3, while the rest of her competitors were getting their acts together. These would end up being good enough for 2nd place, and a spot on the team.
Josiah got going on day 2 with stellar times of 22:15 and 22:08 that would hold out for the win. With his team spot now all but guaranteed, he spent the remaining time experimenting and gaining experience that will only help him at the World Championships.
Day 3 has been dramatic at every Team Selection and World Championships I have attended, and this one was no exception. Tensions are high, time is waning, and a lot is at stake.
Chris was sitting on a respectable 17:46, but commitments and travel plans required him to leave early, and unfortunately he wasn’t able to put in times for the last two rounds.
That left Andrew and Monet battling for the remaining team spot. Monet had a 16:21 from day 2 and came on strong with a 20:04 on her 9th round flight (only the forth 20+ flight of the meet) putting herself into the 3rd place bubble.
Andrew was sitting on a 17:29 and 17:05 and was down to his last round. Based on Monet’s last flight, he needed at least an 18:56 to move into 3rd place. All eyes were on him as he launched the final flight of the contest. It looked great, and finally settled in at 19:31 – more than good enough for the 3rd team opening.
Epilogue: When the CIAM released the first World Championships bulletin, we learned that in an effort to promote participation by women in the World Championships, this cycle would allow 4 team members if at least one was female. The US Junior team was perfectly positioned to participate in the drive, with both the second place and first alternate Juniors being women. Monet is back on the team!
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