Wendy Fortino Tops Colossal NPC USA Champs

Wendy Wins!: California Star Shines in Las Vegas. Photo credit: Jeff Binns.

Wendy Fortino was an overwhelming favorite to finally breakthrough at her next show after fighting off pneumonia in the last week of prep before Team Universe earlier this month, and still making first call outs. If a nasty bug couldn’t take her, what about some 200 of the best national level figure competitors? No sweat.

Wendy’s breakthrough finally came alright—kind of like a bulldozer.

This past weekend, Wendy took first in figure A and put an exclamation point on the win by topping the rest of the class winners to claim figure’s overall crown at the USAs, the largest NPC show to date. It was the 29-year-old’s third try in Las Vegas, after finishing sixth in ’09 and fourth last year, and it was certainly the charm.

Wendy was all smiles and bubbling with excitement after the win, a moment made all the more special when she realized many family members, including her parents, unexpectedly made the trip from her hometown of Modesto, California to see her compete. They got to witness their superstar daughter and sister winning a pro card on a night that won’t be soon forgotten.

For now, Wendy is basking in the sunshine of victory but hinted that she might make her IFBB debut at the Tournament of Champions, the last show before this year’s Olympia, in September. The show will again be in Culver City and though the competition will be tougher, expect all eyes to be on the rookie who dominated the amateur stage in her homestate—winning in San Francisco, Sacramento, the Contra Costa and Cal State Championships—and never finished lower than first in California.

* * *

Jami DeBernard

Elsewhere in the figure ranks, Jami DeBernard punched her ticket to the pros by winning class D. It’s been a busy and memorable season for the classy 39-year-old personal trainer from Sacramento, who plans to jump right into the IFBB mix at the Europa Super Show in Dallas on August 12th.

Other notables in figure included Katie Peterson, who continues to quietly rack up top ten finishes with her latest fourth place spot at USAs the Chicago star’s best ever at the national level. She’s getting closer.

* * *

Sheilahe Brown

Also coming up big was Sheilahe Brown, 47, who took the medium and overall title in a competitive physique category stretching three height classes. Critics might debate whether or not the former bodybuilder is a little too muscular for the new division, but she had the right moves to finish third at Jr. Nationals—site of her photoshoot debut featuring those signature arms—and remained on point to clinch a pro card Saturday, a great accomplishment for the longtime choreographer, judge and competitor from Texas.

Also from the physique medium class, Rauchelle Schultz placed sixth; Nola Trimble took fourth; and Jill Rudison, another California star making her physique debut, finished third. More news from the USAs, including the latest photoshoot scoops, still to come.


~ by Dean Sucich on August 5, 2011.

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