On April 4th I had the pleasure, doubly so, to attend the Junior
USA Bodybuilding Championships here In New Jersey. Doubly
because not only was it the first National level show nearby for
me but I got to see some friends I hadn't seen in quite awhile and
make some new ones. And then there were the new faces I saw
on stage, some totally new and others that I might have caught on
some cable show and now saw in the flesh.
It of course didn't go off without a hitch. I assumed the prejudging
started at 11 am but when I got there I found it had started at 9.
I'd missed the women. Since I've only a passing interest in the men
I bought my finals ticket and went about my usual Saturday
I arrived an hour early, not just to be sure but to try and meet
some of the competitors and stars in the audience. There were
the usual vendors hawking their protein powders and
supplements. I met a few people and had some nice
conversations but then it was on to the show.
The fitness girls led off in their bikini's and then they were led back
so they could change for their routines while the women body-
builders had their go at it. I'll get back to the bodybuilders in a
minute. For the most part I was underwhelmed. The caliber for
most of the competitors' routines was mediocre at best. A few did
nothing more than jumping in a dance routine. But first and
foremost you have to realize that the routine is only a third of the
total score (if that) and it was reflected in the placings. I'll give you
a rundown the top 5 and a few comments about each woman.
This year they had two classes tall, over 5' 4", and short. First the
4-Cynthia Bridges- she had a polished and athletic routine, exactly what I think the sport is about, especially
if you want to abandon the glorified bikini contest stigma that follows nearly every fitness show.
3-Dana Dobson- She had a decent routine, needs more seasoning there, but she was a treat for the eyes.
2-Kimberly Scheilder- She had the best routine, they even gave an award for it, and a pleasant physique.
1-Darline Kironic- She did the same Michael Jackson routine she did at the Women's Extravaganza, good but
not as good as some of the others.
There were only two women in this class.
2-Julie Palmer- She had one of the best routines in the show, second
only to Kim, but she suffered from
a physique that's just a bit too narrow. She didn't lack for development, it was just her bone structure
isn't the ideal.
1-Tarah Scotti- Came out punching with a boxing dance routine. The routine was one of the better
dance routines, more polished maybe, but it still was just a dance routine. No athletics at all. She won
with a body that was ideal. The fact that the raven haired beauty oozed sexuality out her ears couldn't
have hurt either.
Dana Dobson, Tarah Scotti and Kimberly Sheidler.
Well the judges surprised me. With the way the judging had gone in the
I thought Tarah was a shoe in. I think Darline was just as surprised when she was
announced the overall Junior U.S.A. Fitness Champ.
If your looking for a report on the men 'fahgetaboutit'. I wasn't all
and was out in the lobby talking with people when they were on stage.
Anyway, I guess the relatively small turn out was due to the early date
season (actually there were more women than last year) but there was
incredible quality and surprises galore in store.
5-Theresa Maine- She had a tall frame for a lightweight. Would probably
make a good middleweight.
4-Donna Carr- She was ripped but has a bit of a narrow frame.
3-Connie Hamilton- She had a nice routine, posing to saucy horns.
2-Cassie Schwartz- If Donna Carr was ripped Cassie was RIPPED. Far too much for my taste and I
guess the judges as well. But this 48 year old displayed a terrific physique otherwise.
1-Karon Smith- She wasn't ripped, in fact she was almost smooth but she had everything else. Her posing
was good her grooming was national caliber or above. As the judges say she had the overall package.
Cassie Schwartz and Karen Smith.
3-Garnett Francesca- Good overall conditioning but she's a bit narrow
shouldered. Also she has heavyweight
legs, they're good but they unbalance her physique. If she was close to the weight
limit she may want to take some time to add some upper body size.
2-Rosemarie Cheeseman- Damn this woman was good. Huge forearms, could use a bit more back. When
I saw her I thought she would take the class until...
1-Velma Caez-She had everything. She was ripped, her suit was perfect, hair done and a physique that
is national caliber. She's the one with the bulls eye on her back going into a national show. If she's
not a pro by the end of the year then she's taking time off or someone else came out of nowhere
Rosemarie Cheeseman (above), Velma Caez (below).
This was the biggest class and when they walked out I was really sorry
I didn't make the prejudging because
they paraded the whole class out but only the top 5 posed. I'm unsure of the fifth and fourth place finishers. If
I have them reversed I'm sorry.
3-Michelle Maroldo- She was huge and symmetrical, she was a tad smooth but damn, I haven't seen a
woman this good since Tina Lockwood. She was 5'4" and 155 pounds!
2-Carol Quarrels- She was good but looked like she just missed the middleweights. There was a
tremendous round of boos from the audience when Michelle was placed third.
1-Fran Ferraro- She was ripped and thick but a bit pale under the lights. It's always amazing how dark a
competitor must be to appear tan on stage. She weighed in at 145 pounds at 5'4".
Carol Quarrels (above left), Michelle Maraldo (above and below), Fran Ferraro (below right).
It was no contest really. Fran Ferraro was the closest but her symmetry
and polish were nowhere near
Velma's. If you get Musclesport USA you should be able to see the show as they were there in force
taping the show from several positions.