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Muscle Sport Magazine

Written in Stone

NY Metropolitan Bodybuilding, Fitness and Figure Championships Took on New Meaning in ‘09 – The chatter began in the area of the judge’s table and photographer’s pit as soon as he walked on the stage.

“Where is this guy from again?”

“He looks real good.”

There was definitely a buzz in the air when the overall winner of the men’s bodybuilding class made his appearance, fittingly the last one to hit the spotlight. Audrius Jegelevicius was clearly the star of the show at the 2009 Steve Stone New York Metropolitan Bodybuilding, Fitness and Figure Championships and deservingly took home the top trophy of the night, which he proudly held as he made his way home via the Number 1 train headed uptown from the Chambers Street stop.

The 37-year-old Lithuanian also won the Super Heavyweight Division and beat out a well-conditioned Shaun Young (Heavyweight Division and Masters Overall, 35+ Over 176.25 winner) for the overall title on an evening that was about remembering a great man who dedicated his life to the sport that he loved.

The contest was renamed to pay homage to Steve Stone, who passed away during Olympia weekend last year. A moment of silence was done in his honor with a special moment between his widow and Bev Francis, the former great female bodybuilder who emceed the event.

Jegelevicius, who has been training for a quarter century, won his second show in the United States following his victory at the 2007 Eastern USA Championships. He is looking to do more damage in this country and plans on becoming a United States citizen. When asked if he will compete in the Nationals in November and have a chance to earn his pro card, he said there is a “90 percent chance” of that happening.

What began with a 12-year-old boy experimenting with a set of dumbbells back in Lithuania transformed into the shredded, 242-pound bodybuilder that had his hand held up in Manhattan. “The highest I was this year was 282,” he said, commenting on the mass he puts on in the offseason. He definitely brought the entire package to this show.

Perhaps the most entertaining portion of the card was the Pro Fitness competition, which was won by Shannon Meteraud. Trish Warren – who was being cheered on by her pro bodybuilder husband Branch and pro fitness competitor Jenny Lynn seated together in the first row – finished as the runner-up. Tina Durkin was the third place winner.

The others standing in the winner’s circle were Jermaine Morgan (Men’s Bodybuilding Light Heavyweight); Michael DePalma (Men’s Bodybuilding Middleweight, Masters 35+); Mike Grezzo (Men’s Bodybuilding Lightweight and Novice); John Kioskerides (Men’s Bodybuilding Bantamweight); Jeff Beckham (Men’s Bodybuilding Overall and Heavyweight); Frank Ruiz (Men’s Bodybuilding Light Heavyweight); Mario Valenzuela (Men’s Bodybuilding Novice Middleweight); Michael Dagro (Men’s Bodybuilding Novice Bantamweight); James Bocina (Men’s Bodybuilding Masters 45+); Calvin Myers (Men’s Bodybuilding Masters 55+); Michael Soltus (Men’s Bodybuilding Teen Overall and A); Nick Paladino (Men’s Bodybuilding Teen A); Marie Rita Penteado (Female Bodybuilding Overall); Melissa Stocker-Betz (Figure Overall, Class A and Masters 35+); Natalie Benjamin (Figure Class B); Kristen Nagrani (Fitness Class C); Stacey Curcio (Fitness); Blythe Alberg (Bikini Overall and Short Class) and Elise Firestone (Bikini Tall Class).

The variety that this show offered was definitely one of its plusses. Everything from “young” divisions to “old” was on the plate and the people in attendance at the Tribecca Performing Arts at BMCC certainly let their loud applause do the talking for them.

Hopefully they will recharge their batteries because just over a month after the show comes the IFBB New York Pro, an annual event held at the same venue also promoted by Francis and Steve Weinberger.

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