Edward Nunn, Shelia Bleck, Erin Stern win Overall Titles
by Dave Lee
November 23, 2008
Ed Nunn takes his place at the table with the likes of Lee Haney, Kevin Levrone, and Shawn Ray, as the overpowering super heavyweight won both his class and the much coveted overall trophy with a physique comprised of equal parts mass, shape, and conditioning evenly distributed on one of the sport's most gifted frames. Nunn's triumph comes after sixth and fifth place finishes at the 2007 USA's and Nationals, respectively, and a defeat to Brandon Curry and Curtis Bryant at the 2008 USA's after sweeping his class. Battle tested veteran Grigori Atoyan, who seems to have his hands full every year with a new gunslinger in town, finished in the runner-up slot ahead of newcomer Steve Kuclo.
The most brutal battle of the evening, between heavyweights Michael Liberatore and Mark Alvisi went to Liberatore - although a strong case could be made for Alvisi, depending on who you talked to as crowd response was 50-50. Liberatore, elated to be one of the newest IFBB pros, said, "Mark and I went head to head three times now and this was the toughest one by far. We have the same physique and at the same time, we don't so it's always close. I can't wait to compete against him in the pros." Liberatore will take the year off to make his pro debut in 2010. Jason Huh took third, ahead of promising young star Anthoneil Champaignie.
Four was the lucky number for Peter Putnam as he finally snagged that pro card, a dream that he came so close to realizing through two USA Championships and last year's Nationals. "It hasn't sunk in yet," said a dazed Putnam. The new pro says he will take some to decide whether to compete in the 202-pound class or take time off in order to add more size before competing in the open class. Al Auguste's symmetrical physique landed in second with Chulsey Graham in third.
Putnam also was given the inaugural Steve Stone "Heart of a Champion" Award, in honor of late NPC Vice Chairman Steve Stone, who passed away while working backstage during the 2008 Olympia.
The biggest shocker was in the middle weights as Gaetano Cisternino took the class while Ronald Torres, who many thought could have been first, ended up in a surprising fourth place behind Kam Gallman, and Jeff Cook. And the other class winners in mens bodybuilding were Scott Foster (Bantamweight), Marvin Ward (Lightweight), and Jocelyn Jean (Welterweight).
In women's bodybuilding Sheila Bleck won the overall and heavyweight division, while Elena Sieple (Lightheavyweight), Diana Tinnelle (Middleweight), and Rita Rae (Lightweight) were the other class winners.
In Figure, Erin Stern won the F Class and overall, while Jennifer DeJoya, Candice Keenne, Amy O'Neil and Katina Maistrellis were the other pro card winners.