2005 Team Universe Championships
The big apple was again the venue for Team Universe one of the most important shows in the United States. This time fitness was added as a California promoted decided to jump into the figure bandwagon rather than fitness.
Davana Medina was already the winner before she even stepped on stage as everyone knows this is her prime show. She did look much better this year than 2004 and wore a better suit. There were a few new pros who had gotten their cards in Vegas and Chicago such as Andrea Dumon, Amanda Savell, Michelle Flake, Tammy Pies and Valerie Waugaman. There were 3 Italians, 2 Canadians and the rest were US pros.
Probably the most overlooked physique again was Darlina Acampora who looked her best since her Fitness days when she was head to head with Adela G. Lorena Cozza and Michelle Flake looked great and Flake seemed to own the stage. But again the judging seems to be confusing as there were harder, leaner physiques placing lower. Softer and even close to a higher body fat level were placing better. Carina Dupree was much tighter than others but still placed 12th, watch out for Carina since her impressive calves will beat most top pros. Davana and Searles looked different but yet made a good impression and hopefully most other competitors will try to look like that. In general the biggest problem was that some top amateurs in the NPC Figure portion could have taken top 5. Example: Traci Redding at Jr. Nats and Michelle Troll at Jr. USA's. We hope the IFBB is more careful when choosing their pros as the quality of competitors seems to be going down.
Class A has yet to be explained, as it belongs to one of the most bizarre judging ever. Everyone around me shook their heads in amazement at the difference in the top two placings. Zaremba was clearly the best physique on stage and her presentation was just as sharp. On the other hand Rush was much softer and seemed closer to other physiques who didn't place even top 10. So again confusion reigned in class A. Notables were Komis and Oatmeyer amazing upper body. Catherine Sanson-Van-Nederveen was looking amazing but it seemed her body type was not awarded.
Class B was easily taken by Jeanette Freed who finally got her pro card. Jenny Guenther stepped on second, and let me Jenny is such a pro in every sense of the word. Inching close were Amber Black and Gale Elie. Shelby Kadyk-Right was right on the money and probably with a couple more shows will be what the IFBB is looking for. Again a excellent physique such as Courtney Morley was not well taken, it seems muscle is out and a softer shape is in.
Class C was finally Zhanna Rotar's revenge, she indeed deserved it and presented again a flawless physique. Aida Aragon took second in her class and joined the pro ranks. Jesse Ferguson was again so close to getting her pro card and should probably head to North Americans. Notables were Nina Schumacher whose stage presence and looks impressed everyone. Shelly Pinkerton came in better than USA's and closer to her impressive Cal State look.
Class D best physique and shape was probably Krista Smith, perhaps the judges had forgotten about her or simply overlooked her. It was time for Danielle Hollenshade and Erica Davidson to get their pro cards. Jelena Abbou a famous cover model looked incredibly well and is welcome to the NPC ranks after having given up her pro card in another federation. Shannon Roberts was up there again and getting close to a higher placing. Shannon has an excellent physique and looks she just needs to keep on competing.
Class E was very small and Jessica Booth and Alana Hernandez were the winners. Jessica competed in fitness as well and was injured but got her card in both figure and fitness. Alana seemed to look more muscular and Jessi was much smaller yet symmetric. Everyone thought that Stephanie Collins would take the class but that didn't happen. Notables were Angie Watson and Carrie Schindley who presented different physiques. Traci Redding competed in this class but it seemed that even when she did what judges told her she wasn't placed better. Traci has a lot of muscle and looks her best when conditioned.
Class F had to be an easy one to judges and it seemed accurate to choose Ali Metkovich and Alexis Ellis. Taking third was Jamie Justin who had brought in a better package in Vegas and has been improving. Anneke Johnson who had mistakenly tried to register for the USA's on the same weekend of the event finally was able to showcase her physique on a National show. Randi Post and Alia Anor seemed to be a bit overlooked as they both showcased a better package than other top 10 competitors. Strange it was Maria Corsaro's placing in 16th and Jenn Ralph's 15th place. Perhaps the judges are making a statement with Ralph? Or maybe just overlooked?
The number of competitors was fairly decent but two pro cards per class made it a bit easy for some veteran competitors.
Class A was taken by Daughtry who presented an awesome routine and physique and was due for her pro card at least a year ago. Kristi Wills everyone thought would be the hardest competitor to beat and when she stepped on stage with her mighty mouse routine made everyone tremble. Her physique was unbeatable and her routine was full of powerful moves. But newcomer Katie Szep who had won Jr. USA's took 2nd place. Katie was surprised with her win but had worked hard in her routine and physique. Heidi Fletcher was an inch close again to get her pro card but will probably get it in November. Nita Marquez was placed much lower than expected perhaps her shorter frame and muscularity didn't fare well with the judges.
Class B was also contradictory to most of what we have heard about the newer 20% reduction. Both Bethany Gainey and Sonya Bruce both had excellent routines and amazing physiques. Gainey had such an impressive physique some veteran trainers around me were impressed.
Class C was by far the smallest and was taken by Bridgette Murray her gymnastics and routine downsized everyone in the tall class. Physique-wise The top two winners had very different bodies and it could have gone wither way depending on what the judges wanted.
A natural show as it is called will not have those impressive huge muscles many fbb fans are looking for but still was competitive.
Lightweights was taken by Dallas Johnson who's shorter frame gave her a better balance and seemed to hold more muscle.
On the middleweights Mary Bowels edges her competitors but still seemed to be on the next class the answer to the pro card.
The heavy's was a tough call as Carolyn Bryant and Debbie Patton had very similar bodies. Kessler was much more built but lacked the conditioning of Patton and Bryant. Patton won the class and then her pro card. It was well deserved as Debbie has really worked hard for it.