Bodybuilding Reviews / Videos
1998 Teen and Collegiate

1998 NPC Teen and Collegiate Nationals

Videotaped by Repetrope Muscle Video in 1998
Availability: DVD & download

1)  Evening Show Tape (64 minutes)
2)  Prejudging Tape (76 minutes)
3)  Pump Room Tape (53 minutes)

These videotapes document an NPC competition held in July 1998 on the same weekend as the Masters Nationals in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Since the headquarters of the NPC is in Pittsburgh, it’s a natural place to hold the show, which is smoothly run at a downtown Sheraton Hotel.  NPC head Jim Manion is on the judging panel.

These are some of the best young competitors in the United States, and the more I saw them the greater my respect for them became.  Most of the teens are out of high school; the collegiate competitors (all eight of them) look to be in their mid to late 20s.  The two competitions run as one show, although they have separate posedowns and winners.  There are 25 teen competitors, most of them in the middle and light-heavyweight classes.  It’s a shame more aren’t competing in these shows, but a photo feature for the winner in a Weider magazine may encourage more to enter in the future.  With fewer onstage than usual, we do get a good look at each one at some point on these tapes.

The competitors here project youthful potential and energy.  Most don’t project much personality as yet, since that’s still under formation.  The better ones have polish, and most deserve to be onstage.  Many sport arm or shoulder tattoos.  My only complaints were a number chewing gum during stage routines, and some with weak legs.  Upper bodies are usually easier to develop.

There were four classes for the teens (light, middle, lightheavy, heavy), with two competitors in the light and heavyweight classes, 11 in middle, and 10 in lightheavy.  The same four classes made less sense for the collegiates, with one competitor in the light and lightheavy classes, and three in the middle and heavyweight.  The real competition for the collegiate was the posedown for class winners, since four of the eight competing onstage were in it (although not the guy I thought was the best in the show).  Only 11 competitors did not make the top five in the class, since most classes didn’t have five in them.  Almost all of the notable guys were in the evening show so I’ll cover it first, then backtrack to the prejudging to cover others I noticed.  I’ll conclude with a take on the pump room video.

Evening Show Tape

Minute 1-5  Teen lightweights

Of the two lightweights, 1st place winner Zeb Stewart deserved the win for a tight built and good lines.  He used new age music, unlike a number who favored heavy metal or hard rock.  New age works well in bringing out the hypnotic effect of a muscled body.

Minute 5-17  Teen middleweights

The middleweight group was a solid one, and the largest group with 11 onstage.  The top five all get my mention.  David Dalton, in 5th place, has beefy pecs, narrow waist, solid abs, and can pose.  Fourth place finisher is Sean Cox.  A dyed blond (one of several in this show), he’s a shorter guy with impressive back and quads.  He has promise if he keeps competing.  Ricky Durand took 3rd; he’s got a good chest and dark tan, moving quickly in transitions between poses.  The second place winner, Herman Keith, has a tonsured haircut.  He shakes out terrific legs for the crowd’s approval.  His great V back, pecs, and most muscular shots are enhanced by a “get a load of this” posing routine.  Class winner Jonathan Domingue is popular with the crowd, and it’s easy to see why.  His thick chest, solid arms and abs, great back and assured routine all give him the aplomb of a young Jason Arntz.  Of this group, I would have given it to Keith for a superior routine.

Minute 17-29  Teen light-heavyweights

Another impressive class.  Fifth place finisher Troy Janda has a solid chest (a nice torso in general).  Lewis Durrell, the 4th place winner, has great abs shown off in a side tricep shot.  Big everywhere, the beefiest guy in this class, he reminded me of a young Nimrod King.  Jason Fine, placing 3rd, projects well on stage with a great smile and shining eyes.  He has a good chest, peaked biceps, and can pose.  Second place winner Marvis Raymer was a crowd favorite.  His striking long dyed hair (white more than blond) was parted in the middle, falling on both sides like a shaggy dog’s.  He has great arms, chest, abs, nice tan, and clearly is a contender.  Class winner Stephen Helin moves superlatively well, displaying great arms in a back double bi shot.  He has it and then some.  I thought it was a tossup between Helin and Durrell.

Minute 29-37  Teen heavyweights and class winners posedown

Only two were in the heavy class, of which I favored the runner-up, Phillip Neal, who has some thickness in his arms and abs. Zeke Samples won, and moves well.  The teens who won their classes then were called back for a posedown, with Domingue taking the Teen Nationals overall title.

Minute 37-42  Guest posing break

Mike Matarazzo appeared here at a bodyweight of 265, three months shy of the Mr. Olympia contest.  He starts by tearing off his shirt and sticking his tongue out, yelling “Yeah baby!” to the erupting audience.  In off-season shape, Matarazzo is beyond freaky.  He has the moves and works the crowd expertly, motioning for them to turn up the volume, then jumping offstage to high-five fans and shove a flexed bicep under their noses.  The order marginally restored, he addresses the crowd, warning them to be ready for his assault on the “O” (where he broke the top ten).  No magazine pix do this man justice.  He must stop traffic on the street.

Minute 43-104  Collegiate Nationals

Even though only eight competitors entered this competition, it was a solid showing with major beef.  The lightweight class winner (sole competitor) Dave Hornezes, moves well to sultry music, showing off excellent cuts and a great back, generally looking like he’s having a blast.

The middleweights had three competitors.  Third placer Jesse Lieberman has a sleek build and solid chest.  The runner-up position went to Bryant Pangelianani, who had rock-hard abs and nice back poses.  Class winner Lonn Koentopp was my pick as well.  He has a tight build, good lines, sharp back, and ends with a dead-ringer for Rodin’s “The Thinker.”  His light goatee and moustache gives his face character too.

The one light-heavyweight competitor, Jason Armstrong, has solidity to his upper torso and projects power with heavy metal music.

The three heavyweight guys were well worth seeing.  Third placer John Simone has thickness in his upper body, especially traps.  The next guy, Tommy Wooster, was my favorite in this show.  He has it all – knockout arms, chest, legs, shoulders, the works.  He can pose like a pro (better than some of them), with detailed moves giving each shot high impact.  He has a terrific final crab pose, ruling the room while onstage.  Surely this man is destined for big things.  Class winner Mike Lackner is fine as well, and it was his night.  He had solid quads, huge chest, nice back and arms, and poses well.  Like Matarazzo, he sticks his tongue out to great effect.

The tape concludes with the class winners’ posedown, with Lackner the overall winner of the Collegiate Nationals. More guys should be competing in the Collegiate Nationals – the ones here suggest an untapped potential for this show.  More promotion of it is desirable.

Prejudging Tape

All the bodybuilders I covered above appear on the prejudging tape, which gives the afternoon lineups and comparisons of the various classes – anyone competing alone in his class goes on with the next heavier class for comparisons.  The rhythm of a prejudging event is different from that in an evening show; instead of the full routines and personalized music, you have each bodybuilder doing the same compulsory poses for the judges with generic music in the background (if they remember to turn the music on at all).  A prejudging tape reveals more about the way the contest runs, and what matters to the judges calling for comparisons.  Some say a show is over when the prejudging is, in fact.  No awards are given in prejudging, nor is there a guest poser.  That’s left for the more glitzy evening show.  If you’re like Clara Peller – “Where’s the beef?” – the prejudging does just fine.

In addition to the individuals I discussed above, I’ll call attention to several others that caught my attention for the reasons noted.

Among middleweight teens competitor #3, Nichola Katrichis, has a solid chest and legs, great back shots, and a great look with a light goatee and moustache.  I want to mention competitor #9 as well, Aaron Rutler, who has solid arms and abs, a nice side chest shot and final crab, and moves well.

Three light-heavyweight teens not in the top should get mention.  Competitor #15, Adam Lockwood, has a great V back, tight build, nice shoulders, and posed well (with better legs he could place).  Competitor #20, Terry McIntyre, appears to have a neurological disorder of some sort, but he gave it his best shot and had arms on him.  The crowd gave him an ovation.  Competitor #22, Will Hasting, showed off a solid back, traps and legs with fine posing.  Not everyone looks good bald, but he does.

Pump Room Tape

If you know the other tapes for this competition, it’s easy to locate the best competitors in this one as they get ready in the hallway running down the side of the auditorium where the contest is being held.  All the teens are working out at the same time, not coming back by classes like in the larger shows.  There’s less schmoozing than usual at first, most of them hitting the weights and oil in a workmanlike way, committed to their personal best.  If anything these guys look more serious than their older counterparts in bigger shows.

Some of the guys who didn’t impress me onstage did so when I saw them pumping 30-pound dumbbells or pulling on towels with another guy.  You see the towel routine several times here.  Either they pull it back and forth, or one pulls up and the other down.  After two guys finish doing that, one wishes the other luck.  Close up you can see that almost all the competitors have peaked well, with flawless, supple skin.  The natural light coming in the windows adds to the artificial light the Repetrope cameraman uses to get the best shots he can.  I was surprised the guys didn’t bump into him, he seemed so close.

What’s most exciting in pump room tapes is the sense of being involved with the nitty-gritty of competition prep.  You live through the experience with these guys, sweating it out in the final moments before the long slow climb finally tips over into win lose or draw.  What Repetrope does well is in evidence in this tape, which reveals some of the best compact builds on the competition scene.   Some say you had to be there, but with a pump room tape like this you are.  And there are great moments flying by.  Jonathan Domingue heaves against the metal strip across a glass doorway to get a pump going.  One guy can’t resist giving us a bicep flex as he walks off in line to compete.  Another bounces his pecs for the mirror but also for the camera, something you won’t see a top amateur do.  One asks if this show will be on ESPN as he waits in line.  A guy from the southwest says “I’m freezing my ass off” in the 70 degree weather – he’s used to 110.  After enough of these exchanges, it seems like we’re just part of the group.  A timeless condition settles in, a world of pumped muscle in every direction.  A pre-contest pump room is unlike any other environment around.  It goes beyond what words can describe; it has to be seen and felt.

As the tape goes on, the teens are gone and now the collegiate competitors get ready.  With only eight, we get plenty of each.  Several are the biggest guys in the show, hitting their freaky quotient with no trouble.  Most do their own oiling, and some are still being coached at the last minute on posing.  The competitor I was most impressed by on these apes, Tommy Wooster, puts on a mini-show for us.  After taking off his “College of Wooster” sweatshirt he gives us a knockout pose, and then says how about this one, and this one, and this one.  Sure, keep going.  Mike Lackner, who went on to win the collegiate show, also gets intense closeups.   These guys would be competitive in any show they entered – we’re lucky they did in this one.  Finally they too get called off, as Masters Nationals competitors start drifting in still in street clothes, ready to get pumping themselves.

Seeing all three tapes of this show – the pump room, prejudging, and evening show – gives you this competition in its entirety, and in some ways goes beyond what attending the contest gives you.  All three dovetail nicely – and each gives you something special from men who are the future of bodybuilding. (Note: The Repetrope website offers Quicktime video clips from these videos.)

Mike Emery
August 1999