Robert Burneika entered the 2010 USA as one of the faves to win the Super Heavyweight class, and join three other fella’s in moving on to the pro ranks. After a crushing fourth place finish, though, the only place Big Bob was moving on to was prep time—again–for the Nationals over the weekend in Atlanta.
He definitely did his homework. At a crisp 246-pounds, Burneika forced Keith Williams into yet another runner-up slot in the class (Williams was second in the SHW at last year’s Nationals and this season’s USA and North American Championships), and just over powered the other six division winners to leave the arena with the Overall crown as well.
Burneika’s biggest challenge for the biggest prize came from Heavyweight winner Fred “Biggie” Smalls, and Light Heavyweight champion Branden Ray. Also earning pro cards were Roger Ferrer (MW), Dr. Victor Prisk (WW), Leonardo Pacheco (LW) and Richard Siegelman (BW). Prisk was also cited as the “Victor” in the Steve Stone “Heart of a Champion” award, presented by NPC President Jim Manion and Stone’ widow, Andrea.
The Swami was correct on the pre-contest picks of Smalls and Prisk, and was just one place off with my selection of Williams to win it all. Have to also give major props to Smalls and Ray, who didn’t let past contest mishaps stop them from finally being able to move on to the next level.
Oh, on the subject of kudos, thumbs up to promoter Steve Karel for promoting the latest record-setting performance, as over 500 competitors graced the Centennial Ballroom stage at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.