Cheryl Brown nailed her fifth pro win at Jim Manion’s Pittsburgh Pro Figure on May 7. That made it back-to-back victories for the 5’3”, 116-pound Florida flower, who took the top spot at the Show of Champions in Orlando a week earlier and looked every bit as good at Pittsburgh’s Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall. Unlike what happened at the SOS, however, where Candice Keene came within a point of keeping Brownie from the winner’s circle, she found smooth sailing in the ’Burgh, a.k.a. my home town, earning a unanimous first-place score in a fine-looking lineup of 15.
In second a surprise: In her pro debut Utah’s Heather Dees got the panel’s attention—and an Olympia qualification—with her not-too-hard, not-too-soft conditioning. Also a surprise—but not a shock—was Kristen Nagrani’s commandeering of third place. Looking more polished than she was for her fourth-place finish in Orlando, she hopped over Gen Strobo, that show’s third-placer to get the last Olympia invite up for grabs. Facts don’t get any funner than this: Nagrani, at 47, will be not only the oldest athlete ever to compete in the Figure O but also one half of the first-ever Olympia mother-daughter duo, the other half being ’11 Bikini International winner Nicole Nagrani.
Strobo had to settle for fourth but had at least one judge who thought she should have finished higher, while Candice John rounded out the top five.
Also of interest, Alea Suarez, last seen competing in bikini, finished just point behind John to take sixth in her figure debut. I might have had her a little higher, but then I’ve always liked the shape of Suarez’s physique.
The Pittsburgh show was just the beginning of a big month for pro figure in May. Coming up: the Optimum Pro Classic in Shreveport, Louisiana, on the 21st—and on May 28 we’ll have cross-country action with the New York Pro drawing quarter-turners to the East Coast and the California Pro taking place a few miles from the Pacific on the West Coast.
Photo courtesy of Dave Liberman (from left): Heather Dees, Cheryl Brown and Kristen Nagrani.
Here are the complete results from Pittsburgh:
’11 Pittsburgh Pro Figure
1) Cheryl Brown*
2) Heather Dees*
3) Kristen Nagrani*
4) Gennifer Strobo
5) Candice John
6) Alea Suarez
7) Monica Specking
8) Alicia Harris
9) Mona Muresan
10) Rachel Gichert
11) Michelle Bates
12) Sabrina Taylor
13) Georgina Lona
14) Ginette Delhaes
15) Clarissa Castaneda
*Qualilfies for the ’11 Figure Olympia.