As predicted by the Swami, Juan Morel won both the superheavyweight class and the overall at the North American Championships over the weekend in Cleveland, Ohio. The 29-year-old out of New Rochelle, New York was coming off a second place finish in his class at the USA Championships a month earlier. Morel, who placed one spot ahead of veteran Keith Williams at the USA, duplicated that feat again; this was the fourth time Williams has been relegated to the runner-up slot in pro qualifying shows.
Kenneth Jackson, who won the heavyweight division, joined the 5’11”, 245-pound Morel as the winners of IFBB cards and, of course, the right to move up to the pro ranks. Big Sean Allen finally earned that elusive pro card after taking both the SHW class and the overall in the Masters 40+ division.
In men’s physique, Angelo Morasca won the Overall, with Tyler Larson, Mark Wingson, Angel Cordero, Burton Hughes and Bobby Ashhurst also nabbing pro status. In women’s bodybuilding, Gillian Kovack took the overall, and will be joined in the pro ranks by Janeen Lankowski. In women’s physique, Bailey Shuck won top honors, with Nola Trimble, Tracy Bodner, Vallerie Busch, Jordan Renee and Gloria Faulls also earning the right to compete on a pro stage.
Congrats to promoter Gary Udit, who had to be smiling after seeing a record 550+ competitors entering the show.