Ooo-ee! Who could have imagined that the judges at the Atlantic City Pro show would pick someone completely new to elevate to the winner’s circle. Certainly not this reporter, even when, as a very long shot, I included a photo of Brazilian-born Larissa Reis in my preview of the figure field. So I am still chuckling over the results from New Jersey last Saturday, September 12, when Larissa not only got the callout but won the whole darned show. Good on the panel, and good on Larissa, who bucked the perceived wisdom that perennial fave Shannon Meteraud would get the top placing.
More surprises, the panel also couldn’t resist So Cal sweetheart Sherlyn Roy, who got the runner-up Olympia invite after landing out of the top 10 at the Cal Pro in May and at Houston show two weeks before. Plus, Alicia Harris found just the right combo of conditioning after several attempts to earn her own invite, landing in third.
Shannon was fourth, and Tivisay Briceno, who’s been getting better and picking up fans all season, rounded out the top five. Shannon and Tiv picked at a bit of additional change by taking first and second, respectively, in the masters-figure event.
Larissa will come up against Sherlyn and Alicia—plus Nicole Wilkins-Lee—at the New York Pro next week. Now, that should be an interesting match-up.
In the fitness show an on-track Tracey Greenwood won the body rounds and did well enough in the routines to earn a seven-point victory over Tanji Johnson, who showed up at the Trump Marina Casino Hotel in the best shape we’ve seen in a while. Tanji took first in the long routines and also celebrated another first: she and little sister Safiya became the first siblings to compete against each other in an IFBB pro competition. Bethany Wagner, who was fourth at the Super Show, rode some good physique scores into the third Olympia-qualifying spot. Nicole Duncan won the long routines to finish fourth, while Laticia “Action” Jackson took the fifth spot. Not to worry about Nicole—she earned her qualification at the Super Show, where she took third. Laticia is another story. Fortunately, the ’10 qualifying season starts on October 10 with the name Fort Lauderdale Pro in Florida.
Last but not least on the Atlantic City bill of fare was Lisa Aukland’s fourth consecutive win in women’s bodybuilding. It wasn’t as easy as we thought it would be—there was tons of talent in the 21-woman lineup. Aukland won three out of the four rounds to finish seven points ahead of Kristy Hawkins, with Nicole Ball, reportedly improved from the shape she displayed at the Tampa Pro in August, landing solidly in third. Brenda Raganot, looking her very best in a long time, took the fourth spot, while Klaudia Larson finished a disappointing fifth.
Armchair physique judges had the second-through-five placings going every which way. I’d probably have had Raganot in second, but Kristy’s Olympia-qualifying spot is not unwelcome.
A couple of notes: 1) Mah-Ann Mendoza, the runner-up at this contest last year, appeared what was for her very large. Hmm. She took ninth. 2) Nancy Lewis still has one of the best shapes in the business, 11th place notwithstanding. 3) Larson did not get screwed. The Atlantic City women’s bodybuilding lineup was no stroll on the Boardwalk—the top of the lineup was pretty darned deep—and it is, after all, a subjective sport.
For complete scorecards from the IFBB Atlantic City Pro events, click here.