Okay, for those of you who read the latest News & Views, you know I’m going with Steve “Kid” Kuclo to win the whole ball of wax at this weekend’s USA. Yes, I’m going out on a limb for the 6’0″, 265-pounder from Plano, TX; for those who doubt my words, check out where the 25-year-old firefighter finished last year. Sixth in the Superheavyweight class at the USA, third at the Nationals. Keith Williams was second at both of those events so, by the law of progression, Williams should be the obvious pick. Brian Yersky and Dusty Hanshaw also finished ahead of Steve in the SHW class; Kucko is far from an automatic selection.
In the Heavyweight class I look for John Delarosa, An Nguyen (4th in the LHW last year) and Juan Morel to battle for the first place trophy, and most likely an invite to the IFBB pro ranks (the top four choices in the Overall balloting will move on to the next level). We could also see Morel move up to the SHW class, where he would also be a contender. Now, if Zinjun Croon could ever nail it. This time, Zinjun?
All the talk in the Lightheavyweight class has centered around Pete Ciccone, runner-up last year, and Tamer El-Guindy, the class winner in 2009, and they should enter the battle at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, as co-favorites. But, do not discount this year’s California State Overall champ, Lehyn Nunez, a New York transplant who moved to Los Angeles a couple of months back. I’m aware no former Cal state champ has ever gone on to win his class at the USA, but the past does not always dictate the future.This cat has a beautiful, symmetrical physique. I also think Eli Blahut, the 23-year-old 2010 West Coast Classic Overall winner, can challenge in the division.
In the Middleweight class, I predict Leonardo Padua has a real shot at the Gold Medal. I announced the shredded physique artist as the winner of not only his class, but as the Overall champ as well at last Saturday’s LA Championships. Will Danny Hester show up again at the last minute? Hester always in the running if he does. Neko Roberson sent me some pics a while back and he look good, too.
Hey, way too many names to mention, so I’ll stop here. Am sure there will be a slew of outstanding Welterweights, Lightweight and Bantams to boot. As of last Saturday, a record 632 competitors had registered for the event. I’ll be hosting the USA for the 19th time in the last 20 years (was in the seats at the 1994 contest), but this one will be my biggest challenge. With no intermission, I might need to bring some Depends to make it through the finals.
See ya in Sin City. I’m out.