Aleksa Davis, 25, is part of a six-person team who competed at the 2017 U.S. Parachute Association National Collegiate Parachuting Championships in Arizona this January. She was joined by her team members Zachary Beavor, Joseph Presti, Clinton Wallace, Ishmael Raheem, and Jacob Shepherd. All are part of the West Point skydiving crew which include 30 cadets total with only one other woman on the team.
Davis took her first tandem skydiving jump on her 18th birthday and has since put in at least 500 jumps altogether. A senior at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York, Davis says, “I’ve always been an adrenaline junkie. I saw people skydiving and always wanted to do it.”
For a sport that demands a lot of athleticism, Davis had no problem adapting. Already participating in lacrosse, swimming, and softball, Davis’s body was ready for the toll that skydiving would demand of her.
Backing her play for the jump into skydiving athletics is her father Marshall Davis, who was a military man himself and now is a U.S. Army veteran. He took his first jump at age 16 and refers to his daughter as “just amazing.” Marshall Davis traveled from Boise, Idaho to Arizona to watch his daughter jump. Her courage does not surprise Marshall Davis as he says she was always the adventurous type growing up.
Aleksa Davis is the eldest of ten brothers and sisters all of which have at least made one jump out of an airplane. Marshall Davis reports, “If you’re over 18 in this family and haven’t jumped, you’re a second-class citizen.”
The Arizona Collegiate Parachuting Championships brought about 80 different skydivers representing different colleges from all around the country. This adrenaline rushing sport focuses on four different categories of discipline: Formation Skydiving, Vertical Formation Skydiving, Sport Accuracy, and Classic Accuracy.
For the second year in a row, her West Point six-person team took home a gold medal in the Six-Way Speed Formation Diving category. This particular jump requires jumpers to jump out of the plane and unite in a pre-planned formation as quickly as possible. Davis says that much of the training for this event is done via. “dirt diving”. She says it’s more about reputation and knowing when and who you are supposed to grab onto during the jump – things that can be practiced without taking a skydive every time.
Another gold medal was also earned by Davis in the team Sport Accuracy event. This event requires divers to guide their landing onto a target while traveling toward the ground at a high rate of speed. Divis’ dad comments, “Knowing what it takes just to land on the ground safely, let alone land on a spot the size of a salad plate, I’m in awe. Just in awe.”
Since Davis is a senior at West Point, the Arizona competition will be her last jump as a college athlete. West Point cadets committee themselves for five years to the military after college in exchange for college tuition. After West Point, Davis will get to go where she wanted to go – Ruckers, Alabama where she will learn to fly helicopters.
Davis started her college career at Meridian Medical Arts Charter School in 2010. Then she attended Boise State and Idaho State before moving on to the Idaho National Guard. In 2013, she moved on to West Point where she will graduate in May with a degree in Defense and Strategic Studies.
And although Davis will no longer be jumping as a college athlete, her team jumps recreationally for demonstrations. Davis says her team has jumped at home football games, the New York Air Show, and even into the Yankee Stadium.