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Matter of Time

819rb1541Those who have watched the burgeoning career of Nicole Wilkins-Lee since she emerged on the national scene in fitness in 2006 understood implicitly: It was only a matter of time before the dual-track rising star from Michigan won her first pro show. The only question was whether the win would come in fitness or figure. Those who would have bet on figure should be feeling pretty smart right now. Wilkins-Lee made up for just missing out on an Olympia qualification in Fitness at the New York Pro a week earlier by taking the figure title at the Europa Super Show in Orlando, Florida, on April 18.

It was a one-point squeaker—and a heartbreaker for Heather Mae French, who many in attendance thought had it sewed up after the judging on Friday night, April 17. Based on the online threads I was following, I got the impression that the battle for the biggest check in the lineup of 28 classic quarter-turners was between Heather and Mo Brant, with the 5’ Heather being given a slight edge. So much for being able to interpret pro callouts with any degree of accuracy. Heather was second, obviously, with Mo being the panel’s definite choice for third. Figure O invites will be going out to that trio.

819rb1191Close only counts in horseshoes, the saying goes, but sometimes just making the top five is a big deal. That holds true for Inga Neverauskaite, who made a notable return to the stage for the first time since the ’07 Olympia, finishing fourth, while Erin Stern landed in fifth, giving notice that she is indeed the thoroughbred folks have been claiming since she galloped onto the scene at the ’08 Nationals.

For complete scores from the Europa Super Show Pro Figure, click here.


Top: Nicole Wilkins-Lee nailed her physique-polishing routine in Orlando, enough to pick up her first pro win by a single digit.

At right: Heather Mae French came oh, so close to making it her first pro win. Don’t worry, Heather. You’ll get ’em next time.

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