Ridgefield college students, William Harris and Andrew Stipicevic of the University of Connecticut, won gold medals and set a Florida state collegiate skydiving record last week at the 2014 U.S. Parachute Association National Collegiate Parachuting Championships.
Students from UCONN won gold medals in the 6-way formation skydiving event with their team, “Mo’ Budget, Mo’ Problems.” In formation skydiving, the team leaps from an aircraft more than two miles above the ground and then races against the clock to form prescribed geometric formations in freefall before opening their parachutes. The team also set a state collegiate skydiving record by building a formation in 8.65 seconds.
Team members are Kevin Duignan from Pawcatuck, a senior majoring in physiology and neurobiology; William Harris from Ridgefield, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering; Douglas Hendrix from Bristol, Rhode Island, a junior majoring in materials science and engineering; Andrew Stipicevic from Ridgefield, a junior economics major; Jon Szylobryt from Canton, a senior nursing major; and Andrew Usher from North Haven, a senior horticulture major.
The National Collegiate Parachuting Championships is billed by the U.S. Parachute Association as, "the oldest and biggest collegiate skydiving event in the world." The competition took place at the Florida Skydiving Center in Lake Wales.
More than 75 collegiate skydivers from around the country competed at the national championships, pushing their aerial skills to the limit and competing for the title of national champion in four spectacular skydiving disciplines: Formation Skydiving, Vertical Formation Skydiving, Sport Accuracy and Classic Accuracy.