Folks in attendance at the former NPC Junior Cal (now the West Coast Classic) may well remember the names Brian Yersky and Art Shahnazarian. Brian came all the way from Ohio to compete in the 2007 show, winning the heavyweight division (Kioshi Moody won the overall); Shahnazarian finished third in the middleweight class two years later.
My, have these two gents come a long way since then. All the way, in fact, to the pro stage after last weekend's NPC Nationals, held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia. The 250-pound Yersky won the super heavyweight and overall titles, and Art, a lawyer based in Los Angeles, took to court the rest of the welterweight division to also earn a trip to the IFBB flex-for-pay ranks.
Congrats also to Ian Lauer, who finished fourth in the tall class in men's physique at the 2011 WCC. Laurer's second place landing in class E allows him to move on to the next level in 2013 as well. In all, I announced the names of 62 athletes who left the ballroom with pro cards intact. Despite Hurricane Sandy decimating the East Coast 10 days before the annual Steve Karel production, 855 contestants showed up and played to a strong audience.
For complete results, photos, scoresheets and more, log on to www.npcnewsonline.com.