The "Battle at the Beach" will go down November 20-21, 2009 at the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood, Florida. Currently, there are 340 women and 195 men registered for this contest.
A number of past winners have gone on to have successful careers in the industry. Victor Martinez, Toney Freeman, Johnnie Jackson, Shawn Ray, Kevin Levrone and Lee Haney all have the title of NPC National Champion under their belt.
Who are some people to watch? While we don't have a competitor list here's a few contenders to keep an eye on this weekend.
Todd Jewell - Todd has been up and down this year. He was in the dreaded 'tied for 16th' spot at the NPC USAs in July but bounced back to place fourth in this class at the North Americans a couple months ago. It will all come down to his conditioning and if he's able to bring it to the stage, if he does he'll be in the running, if not he'll be on the side watching others get the callouts.
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Todd Jewell Interview!
Todd, if you could give me as much information and insight as you can about your upcoming competition, I'm sure everyone would appreciate it.
Stephen Kuclo - He was 3rd at this contest last year and unlike many others in this class he hasn't competed this year. It could work to his advantage as he'll be rested. When I photographed Steve 12 weeks out at his home gym of MetroFlex Plano he was bigger than he'd ever been and pretty lean.
The question will be his conditioning and will he have all the right body parts to take the class. He has tremendous wheels and youth on his side. He will have his hands full with this class and a win won't come easy for this firefighter.
Trey Brewer - Trey has been a victim of overhype by his sponsor BSN and the media. He was way too heavy in his offseason going into the 2008 Jr. Nationals and placed 5th. He redeemed himself a bit at the '08 Nationals by coming in sharper and placing 4th.
This year he didn't let his weight get out of control in the offseason and he enlisted the help of guru Hany Rambod. Can Hany live up to his "Pro-Creator" nickname with Trey? We'll find out on Saturday night.
Kirk DeFrancesco - He was on the competitor list for the USAs but didn't compete. He showed up at this year's North Americans and placed 9th. Last year at this contest he was 6th. He's beaten a number of guys in this class but we never know which Kirk will show up. If he brings his best conditioning he can hang, any mistiming and he's out of the top five.
Robert Burneika - Robert is a beast. He has a huge upper body and will tip the scales at over 250lbs. He was 3rd at this year's USAs and if he comes in a bit sharper than the USAs he'll be a contender here.
Drew Jemmott - Drew has been up and down on the National NPC scene for some time. He's consistently in the top 10 but has yet to win... the win that matters most and earns him his pro card. He was 7th at this year's USAs and will look to improve on that placing this time around. He's a taller competitor and that works against him against the mass monsters who are shorter in this class.
Cedric McMillan - South Carolina's Cedric McMillian has taken his time to put size on his frame. Another tall competitor at 6'1" he has added size over time and not rushed into anything. The last time we saw him on stage was in 2008 at the NPC JR USAs. He left the overall winner then and he'll look to do the same in Hollywood.
Cedric will turn some heads with his tiny waist and tremendous upper body. His only challenge will be if he can hang from the back poses with his wheels. His back is great so that won't be a question but his hamstrings and calves might be. Don't be surprised if you hear him in the top callout.
Abbas Khatami - Abbas has been up and down throughout his NPC career. He's won his class and held his own in several shows but hasn't put it together when it mattered most. This show he'll look to put the NPC behind him and head into the pros. He's shown he can nail his conditioning in the past but will he have enough size to hang with some of the other guys in this class. Abbas is a contender and one to keep an eye on this weekend.
Malcolm Marshall - Malcolm is another guy who is a contender if he's on with his conditioning. If he's not he'll be on the outside looking in. He was 5th in this class last year and will look to improve upon that this year. He'll have his work cut out for him and it won't come easy but he could be in the top callouts again.
Sean Allan - Ah, Sean Allen. What do you say about this guy? He had a solid run in 2008 when he won the Jr. Nationals. Since that time he's slipped out of the top spots in each of his shows.
Many times he let's his emotions get the best of him on stage and when he doesn't get a top callout. He's back for another crack at a pro card here. Can he find the top spot? Anything is possible but he'll need to be at his all-time best if he hopes to crack the top five.
Jason Huh - Jason is one of the younger bodybuilders on the NPC National stage. He was the overall winner at the 2004 NPC Teen & Collegiate Nationals at age 19. He's continued to add size to his frame and finished 5th in this class at the 2009 USAs. He was 3rd last year as a heavyweight at this contest. If he comes in with better conditioning than USAs he'll be in the mix for a top spot.
Lee Banks - A few people thought Lee should have won this class at this year's USAs. He finished in the runner-up position to eventual overall winner Mark Alvisi. He's been in the mix each time he's step on stage and is considered the front runner coming into this contest. If he shows up like he did at the USAs I look for him to win this class.
Fred Smalls - Fred Smalls will present the biggest challenge to Lee Banks in this class, at least on paper. Fred wasn't quite sharp enough at this year's USAs and finished third.
If he is in a little better conditioning then he was in Vegas look for him to battle it out with Banks for the win. I'd have no problem with him getting the nod over Banks if he's in condition as he has a more complete physique top to bottom. He won't be able to slip past Bank if he's not spot on.
Anthoneil Champagnie - Anthoneil has steadily improved each year and finished 4th last year in this class. He has a sick upper body and if he has brought up his lower body to match it, he could be a contender here.
Jeff Long - Jeff is one of the shorter competitors on stage and packs a ton of muscle. The problem is he usually isn't in condition and his placing reflect that. This year Jeff has enlisted the help of Hany Rambod for his prep.
Will Hany be able to work his magic and bring in a conditioned Jeff Long? We'll have to wait and see but this kid is a tank that could roll over some people into the top five if he does.
Vladimir Sizov - Vladimir was 4th at USAs this year and has a fairly balanced physique. If he enters this contest and looks like he did in July he'll cause some problems for a few guys.
Tamer El Guindy - Tamer has improved his physique over the years and was this year's class winner at the USAs. He edged out Branden Ray for the win which surprised a number of people. It was his razor sharp conditioning that helped him win the class in Vegas.
He'll face Branden again here but will also go up a much tougher class than he did at the USAs. If he wins his class again he'll leave an IFBB pro, if not it's back to the drawing board in Venice.
Branden Ray - Branden is a man on a mission. Many had him pegged as the winner going into the USAs but he finished in the runner-up position. He has great delts and solid arms but still lacks the mass needed in his lower back to be a dominate force.
He will look to upset Tamer this time around but he'll have to get past a few other guys in the process. No doubt he'll be a top contender here but to win he'll need to bring his best ever.
Al Auguste - Al has been the runner up in this class more than once and will look to change that this time out. He was 2nd last year to Peter Putnam and many felt he should have won over Putnam. He'll have his hands full with a few guys this time out and a win here won't come easy. Look for Al to be in the top callout on Friday night's prejudging.
Seth Feroce - We'll see what this year's overall winner at NPC Pittsburgh can do on the National stage. He showed tremendous promise at the PA show this spring. He'll need to bring better conditioning to the stage if he hopes to leave the winner here.
Seth is only 24, so he has youth on his side. He's definitely one to watch in the year's ahead as he has all the right tools to be a contender in every show he enters. If he brings a more conditioned physique to the stage look for him to battle it out for the win here.
Darron Glenn - Darron was this year's overall winner at the NPC Jr. USA but he'll have a much tougher field to get through at this show. He has some great body parts and will be competitive from the front.
Many feel shows are won or lost from the back and Darron's back will determine if he can challenge for a top spot here. He's a solid competitor and could be in the mix if he brings a more conditioned physique than he did at Jr. USAs.
Chulsey Graham - Chulsey was 3rd at this contest last year and could be a contender again this year. He doesn't have the most flowing physique in the show but has some impressive body parts. Like many others mentioned, he'll need to nail his conditioning if he hopes to leave in the top spot here.
Shaun Crump - I'm not sure if Shawn is entering the contest but if he is he'll be one to watch. He was 4th at this year's USAs and is a very competitive bodybuilder when he nails his conditioning.
Matthew Lowden - Another guy that I'm not sure is in the contest but if he is watch for him to cause some problems for this class. He was third at this year's USAs and has the potential to be in the mix again here.
Middle & Welterweight:
The lighter weight guys don't often get the same amount of respect of media attention as the heavier classes. It's no slight on them as there are a number of tough competitors in these classes. A few names to watch for in the Middle and Welterweights. The welterweight class could be one of the toughest battles of the shows.
I've heard that Shavis Higa is going to drop down to welterweights which could cause some problems for a few guys. He has a tremendous physique but wasn't sharp enough at USAs to be in the winner's circle. If he does drop to welters it will force him to be in great condition and if not he'll look flat.
Sing Mandeep will be coming off an overall win at the NPC Sacramento and look to keep the momentum going this weekend.
Look for Colorado Springs' Luis Santa to go for three in a row here. He won the welterweights at the Jr. Nationals and USAs but missed out on the pro card. Each class winner leaves a pro and if he is able to repeat his performance from past shows he'll leave with an IFBB Pro card.
He will have a tough time against Shavis if he does drop down. The North American winner Victor Prisk will also look to challenge him in this class.
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Victor Prisk Interview!
Not long after his first bodybuilding workout he qualified for and entered the 2005 Junior Nationals, placing a respectable third. Learn more about this up and coming star...
One guy who hopes to be in the mix of this class is Alex Azarian. Alex always looks great in his pre-contest photos but fails to match them when he takes the stage. He could be in the top five here but the other guys will out muscle him for the top spot.
The figure competition will once again dominate the weekend's show with 191 total competitors. There are a number of very good physiques in each class and some will be more competitive than others. Here's a few names to watch out for come show time.
Look for Mandy Henderson to try her hand at a top spot once again. She's come close a number of times but slipped to fourth at the Team Universe contest. She'll be one of the top contenders this time around and could leave Florida with her pro card.
Debra Lavette beat Mandy at the Team Universe by placing 3rd and she'll look to one up her again here in the Figure A class.
Another shorty to watch is Catherine Chlipala from Illinois. She was a contender at the Jr. Nationals contest and she'll be one again this weekend.
Soleivi Hernandez will be tough to beat in this class. She was second this year at the NPC Jr. Nationals and while I don't know who else is competing in this class I look for her to be the front-runner.
Jennifer Smythe could be a name you hear called out in the top callouts. She was 4th at the USAs but slipped to 6th at the Team Universe.
This is usually one of the toughest classes and the largest. I'm going to go out on a limb and say whoever wins this class takes the overall title. It's a stab in the dark but given the history of this class and some of the competitors I know will be competing in it, it will be the one to watch.
Utah's Kathleen Tesori will take the national stage for the first time. She's coming off an overall win and has IFBB Figure Pro Felicia Romero as her coach. Look for her to make some noise.
Khristy Poteat has shed some muscle from her frame and consistently moved up in her placings. She'll try her hand again and could be in the mix of the top five here.
Nichole Guenther has come oh so close to a pro card a couple of times. She was third at the Team Universe contest and will look to move into the winner's spot at this event. She's definitely one to watch as a top contender.
Jenna Boyer won her class at the NPC Jr. Cal. but slipped to 16th at the USAs. She's coming off a second place finish at the NPC Sacramento. She could be a contender here but will have her work cut out for her.
Natalie Bastiao won the class at the NPC Sacramento and will look to continue on her winning ways in Florida.
Ava Cowan may be the most recognized name in the line up and is coming off an overall win at the NPC Easterns. She hasn't been on the national stage in a few years but will look to make her presence known once again.
Click Image To Enlarge.Ava Cowan.
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Charmayne Jackson was third in this class at the Team Universe and narrowly missed out on her pro card. She'll take the stage in Florida looking for a win (and an IFBB Pro card).
Teale Mueller will look to improve upon her 6th place finish at the USAs and should be in the mix of a top spot if she brings a conditioned physique to the stage. Ryan Everson will look to improve upon her 3rd place finish at the USAs. She should be a contender in this class once again.
Kim Sheppard bounced back at the NPC Sacramento to win her class and the Master's overall. She has a tremendous physique and should be a contender in Florida.
She could face Mindi Smith once again in this class. Mindi was in a different class at the Sacramento show and will either be in E or F for this contest. Mindi won the overall title at the NPC Sacramento in her first NPC show. She'll be one to watch in whatever class she ends up competing in.
Patricia Nguyen will challenge for a top spot in this class. She was 4th at the USAs but slipped to 6th at the Team Universe contest.
Last year's overall winner, Erin Stern pretty much came from nowhere to take everyone by surprise. We could have someone do it again.
Sici Weinstock has consistently been in the top spots this year and will look to do it once again here. She was in 8th at the Team Universe but could be a contender at this show.
Melissa Binkley was fifth at the Team Universe and will be back looking to move up into the winner's circle.
Jeanne Nimmer has often been in the top callouts and compared for the number one spot. She slipped out of the top five at the Team Universe contest and will be back to redeem herself.
It's good to see the numbers up in the women's bodybuilding and at present time there are 74 registered for this contest.
The heavyweight class should prove to be very competitive. Dana Richards won this class at this year's Jr. Nationals but will face much tougher competition this time around. She showed crazy conditioning at the Chicago event but will be pressed to hang with the women who pack more muscle here.
Monique Jones was third in this class last year and if she nails her conditioning she should be in the mix again at this show.
Amber DeFrancesco won the 2008 Jr. Nationals but slipped to fourth in this contest last year. She'll be back looking for a win and should be one of the names you hear called out first at the prejudging.
Sarah Hayes is taking the National stage for the first time and if her lower body is tighter than what she displayed at her overall win in Dallas earlier this year, she'll be in the running. She has all the makings to be the winner here and don't be surprised if she leaves a winner.
Kris Murrell has the makings to be a top contender if she can come in conditioned. She's been as high as fourth in this contest before and if she shows up in shape she could be in the mix.
Kira Neuman was a heavyweight at this year's USA contest. If she brings it back down and enters the light-heavy class she'll be competitive. She has the makings to be a contender but needs to come in sharper then she did in Vegas if she hopes to be in the running for a pro card. She looked better as a middleweight in 2008 then she did as a heavyweight in 2009. We'll see which Kira shows up and which class she ends up in.
Theresa Hendricks was second in Team Universe heavyweight division but moved to first after the winner was disqualified. She'll look to repeat a top performance here in the light-heavy class.
Michele Pome won the overall title at the Team Universe contest but was later stripped of her title and pro status. She'll be back looking to repeat here. It will be interesting to see how she stacks up here.
Monique Hayes will be back and has to be considered a top contender in this contest.
Lightweight & Middleweight:
Lori Steele will battle it out against Barbara Fletcher in the lightweight class. Barbara was fourth last year and will look to stand tall on Saturday night despite being the shortest competitor in the line-up. Lori Steele won the North Americans last year and finished in fifth at this contest last year. Look for her to be in the mix again here.
Kristen Haratrk is another one to watch in this event. She was second in the middleweights at the 2009 USAs and will be a contender again here.
Cheryl Faust will be another top competitor in this show as she's been consistently in the mix her last few times on stage.
Suzanne Germano won the overall at this year's Jr. Nationals and will be back looking to repeat.
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The Bikini numbers continue to rise and there will be 76 bikini women in this event. This will be there the first NPC National Bikini Champion and the overall winner will be featured in Muscle & Fitness Hers with a chance at gracing the cover. The shorter classes seem to be the weakest divisions and lacking the most depth. I don't see that changing here.
Tioanna Rotante has teamed up with Shannon Dey and will bring a much improved look to the stage this time around. Look for her to be at her best.
Michelle Cagle will look to make a name for herself in the B division.
Abby Marie Lindemann will be a contender in the C class.
Look for Tiffany Michelle Upshaw to be in the mix too if she dials it in like she did earlier this year when she was victorious in a local show.
Venus Ramos seems to fair much better in the bikini division then she did in figure or fitness. Look for her to be a name that could be called out first in the C division as well.
The D/E classes could shape up to be competitive ones with a few familiar names in them. Shina Mitchell-Lews, wife of FLEX Lewis will look to repeat her win from Atlantic City.
Jessica Anderson showed promise at the NPC Orlando show and has the look to do well here if she comes in conditioned.
Tianna Ta has improved her conditioning over the course of the year and will try her hand at a pro card here.
LeAnne Silva will make the trip to Florida from New Mexico. She was second in her class at the NPC Sacramento show and could be competitive here.
I'm not sure who will be in the F class. I look for the overall winner to come from the E class and that division to be the most competitive of the entire show.
- This is a IFBB Pro Qualifier - Each class winner is eligible for IFBB Pro Status
- Men's Bodybuilding and Women's Bikini Prejudging Friday, November 20, 4:30 p.m.
- Tickets $50 - General Admission
- Women's Bodybuilding and Women's Figure Prejudging (Tickets $35 - General Admission)
- Finals for all Bodybuilding, Figure and Bikini Saturday, November 21, 6:30 p.m.
- Tickets $125 & $75 - All Seats Reserved
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