If you want an idea of who the stars of bodybuilding will be in the next decade, you can start by looking at the NPC Junior Nationals. Some stars of the IFBB Pro League have made their first mark on the sport at that show. Past champions include Derek Lunsford and Kevin Jordan, both of which are current IFBB Pros that have garnered respectable followings in the years since.
The 2019 edition of this show introduced many bodybuilding fans to a new face (and physique) who could very well be working his way to much bigger stages sooner rather than later.
Bodybuilding Heavyweight and Overall Winner – Nathan Epler
Most fans would expect the super-heavyweight winner to also be the overall champion, but Epler’s physique couldn’t be denied. As a heavyweight, he was big, round, sported dense muscle, and had the symmetry that makes his physique flow better from top to bottom. Those are all qualities that not make for a winner in the amateur phase but also will help you when you become a pro. Epler hopes that he time as a pro will come in a little more than a month when he takes part in the USA Championships at the end of July.
Other Bodybuilding Winners
Super-Heavyweight – Coleman Atkins
Light-Heavyweight – Eric Wood
Middleweight – William West
Welterweight – Kameron Harris
Lightweight – Josh Reznik
Bantamweight – Christopher Landig
Men’s Classic Physique Overall Winner – Blake Cornett
Cornett made quite an impression of his own this past weekend in the Classic Physique division. This division is considered a tribute to how bodybuilders looked in the “Golden Era” of the sport which many consider from the 50’s to the early 80’s. Cornett’s look and presentation would make many old-school fans think of Bob Paris. This is especially true when he performs the abs and thigh pose.
Whereas bodybuilding athletes move on to the USA’s or Nationals to attempt to go pro, Classic Physique winners can actually earn their IFBB Pro League status by winning this show. So Cornett not only won his class (Class D) and the overall here, he along with the top two winners of the other classes are now IFBB Pro League competitors. Those winners are Brock Stockton, Vinny Tardo, Jesse Strand, Mattie Nelms, Jacob Graham, Antonio Cummings, and Dusan Krstic.
Below are the other overall winners from this past weekend. All of these athletes have also now earned IFBB Pro League status.
Men’s Physique – La’el Sims
Figure – Julia Chapman
Bikini – Jennifer St. Peter
Fitness – Missy Khasawneh
Women’s Physique – Jacqueline Estrada
Featured image: @danrayphoto on Instagram