The first Mid Atlantic Natural Muscle Classic was held August 26th at the Performance Arts Center of Burlington Township High School in Burlington, NJ. Bodybuilding and New Jersey have a long time relationship, and the Performance Arts Center was the perfect venue to introduce natural bodybuilding and the O.C.B. to the area! Before the contest started and competitors stepping onto the stage, many were impressed with the fantastic venue. Everyone was excited.
There were 3 figure competitors, and all of them were stage ready! It was Ildiko Szermiâ€™s first contest but her poise and preparation did not reflect the fact. Ildiko faced Lori Kleppe in the masters division and Lori prevailed over Ildiko, because of her muscle definition. The competitor that won both the open and novice was Franca Gerace. She was dead on with her condition and stage presence. We can see a bright future for Franca.
The novice men consisted of two strong groups that totaled 11 competitors. The first group (short class) consisted of Matt Martin, Anthony Dominguez, Steve Morales, Darryl Stein and Mark Parker. All 5 competitors showed their best. But in the end it was Steve Morales that pulled out the victory with great upper body thickness.
The second group (tall class) had a lot of quality physiques. And the judges made them work! There were many comparisons, especially for the top three! Tony Malczon showed a great package with nice lines and placed 3rd. The very thick and well-balanced Xin Miao took home 2nd place. But it was Rob Lunny that carried the complete package and edge out the others. Rounding out the top 5 were, Steve Fardella placed 6th, Keens Cornet 5th, and Monte Plumb 4th.
So then it was Rob Lunny and Steve Morales up for the overall Novice tittle. Each of them battled during the pose down and at the end Rob showed his best and took the overall cup home. Note: This was Robâ€™s first show!
When the women stepped out on stage there were three competitors. The line up consisted of, Michelle Caso, Michelle Paxton, and Joyce Hagymasi. All three were competing for the womenâ€™s open tittle. Michelle Paxton displayed a well-balanced and shapely physique and finished third. So it was Michelle Caso to challenge Joyce for the win. Michelle Caso showed her muscle, but Joyce was too tough to beat. Joyce carried quality muscle from head to toe and that brought her home the overall trophy. In addition she won the womenâ€™s master title uncontested.
Masters Men over 40:
Then it was time for the menâ€™s masters. This class was another tight one to judge and had some of the best physiques in the show. Placing fifth was the veteran Randy Joseph, who also entered the menâ€™s 50+ and was uncontested. He showed the audience that bodybuilding is a sport for life. Darryl Stein showing off his symmetry took fourth place. Then the top three were set, Charlie Duffy, Paul Oliviera and Rob Lunny. Charlie brought his A game to the stage with a 3-year absence from competing. He had a good amount of muscle with exceptional conditioning, but it was not enough to take second place in which Rob Lunny captured. That leaves Paul Oliviera. Paul was ripped to the bone and he had the full package of muscle to back it up. His posing was like a pro, and that also gave him the best poser award.
The grand finale of the show was the two open menâ€™s groups. In the first (short class) there were four competitors battling for the chance to win the open overall title. Matt Parker and Eric Mills finished 4th and 3rd respectively. So the comparisions came down to Paul Oliviera and Charlie Duffy. Again, it was Paul who had the complete package to win the open short class. Once the short class exited, it was the open tall class turn to determine the winner that would face Paul.
The class had 5 competitors wanting the chance to win the overall title. The class was mixed with all great but different types of physiques. Matt Martin finished in 5th and showed nice stage presence for his first show. Placing 4th was Chris Kobus. He presented his lean body and it was evident through the glute and hamstring region. Monte Plumb, another first time competitor came in 3rd. His upper body looked like a veteran and will do well in futures shows. Rounding out the top two were Steve Morales and Xin Miao. Although, Steve won the novice short class, it still was not enough to take the tall class trophy from Xin. Xinâ€™s thickness was unmatched in the show.
The stage was set! It was between Xin Miao and Paul Oliviera to win the first menâ€™s open overall title for the Mid Atlantic Natural Muscle Classic. The two went through their quarter turns and mandatory poses. Each of them had winning physiques but are quite different. At the end Xinâ€™s well-balanced thickness was not enough to take Paul. Paulâ€™s naturally matured muscle and definition was the key to his win.
"You ran an excellent show. One of the best I've competed in. I'll be sure to spread the word!"
Just wanted to let you know that I thought the show was great- very well run. It was a great first show experience for me. There are quite a few people that train at my gym for shows and I passed on the information about how well the show is run so I am certain that next year you will have a bigger group from our gym.Hopefully next year I will be back with some abs and better posing.
Figure Masters 35+:
1. Franca Gerace #43
2. Ildiko Szeremi #25
Men's Novice Class 1:
Men's Novice Class 2
Men's Masters 50+
Men's Masters 40+:
Men's Open Class 1:
Men's Open Class 2:
BP denotes Best Poser
* denotes division overall winner