NPC USA CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW: MEN'S HEAVYWEIGHT BODYBUILDING!
July 26, 2011
On paper, the super-heavyweight battle looks to be the most intriguing NPC skirmish in a decade. There will be at least five guys to watch, but because this looks like a three-man race for the title, that's where we're focused. We have the perennial “bride’s maid,” Keith Williams, coming off a monumentally frustrating year in which he was second in three pro-qualifiers. We have super newbie, Juan Morel, who was second in two pro-qualifiers last year, but as a heavyweight. And we have the (still) young gun, Steve Kuclo, who seems to have all the tools--but needs to finally sharpen them. Collectively, they racked up five seconds and a third in pro-qualifiers last year. Something’s got to give.
National Level History: 2010 Nationals, super-heavyweight, 2nd; 2010 North American, 2nd; 2010 USA, super-heavyweight, 2nd
Our Take: The 5'10" Williams doesn’t have the ideal shape, but he’s getting the most of it. After his runnerup trifecta last year, has he filled out his weaker areas (quad sweep, lower lats) enough to get over the hump this year?
National Level History: 2010 Nationals, heavyweight, 2nd; 2010 North American, heavyweight, 2nd
Our Take: New York’s Morel displayed a balanced attack last year as a heavyweight, but at 5'11" he was simply too tall for a class that limited his weight at 225. We noted then that his best fit would be with the unlimited class, and he’s moving on up this year. If he simply brings a bigger version of his 2010 form, he’ll be fighting for a top spot again, perhaps in the overall posedown.
National Level History: 2010 Nationals, super-heavyweight, 3rd; 2010 USA, super-heavyweight, 6th; 2008 Nationals, super-heavyweight, 3rd
Our Take: When a 5'11" guy competes at over 260, he doesn’t lack muscle. Unfortunately, for Kuclo, he’s repeatedly lacked cuts. He has the fullness, even in areas like calves that other guys don’t, but, throughout his career going back to the Teen Nationals (where he won the heavyweight class twice) he just hasn’t come in dry enough to nab an overall title or a pro-qualifier class win. Still, he’s only 25. Will this be the show Kuclo pulls it all together and fulfills his immense promise?
Check out FLEXonline all week for the most in-depth coverage of the NPC USA Championships on July 29-30 in Las Vegas! FLEXonline is the only place you'll see backstage coverage during the entire contest. The previews will continue all week until we are live from Las Vegas (next Thursday) with exclusive weigh-in photos!
WHAT: 2011 NPC USA Championships
WHERE: Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall at UNLV, Las Vegas, NV
WHEN: Friday & Saturday, July 29-30, 2011
TIME: Prejudging at 4:30pm on Friday & 9:00am on Saturday; All Finals at 6:00pm Saturday!!!
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