Now in its fifth year, the 2015 NPC National women's Physique division competition mirrored past events with a robust field of 66 contestants from 26 states and although Georgia's Stacia Woods surfaced as the new overall Physique champion, Florida was clearly the dominant force as the Sunshine State succeeded in placing at least one competitor in each of the four height classes. Still in all, the common thread to this division is how diverse and wide-spread the fields have been as the division continues to evolve. That reality can best be seen by the fact that the five overall past champions come from five different states and are spread, literally, from coast to coast. Karin Kimura Hobbs was the inaugural winner in 2011 and hailed from Idaho, Pennsylvania's Toni West was the 2012 champ, Oregon's Kelli Schrader took top honors in 2013, and Illinois' Marcie Simmons claimed last year's title with Stacia Woods taking her place at this event - and two of the four past winners (Hobbs and West) have already made their way to competing at the Physique Olympia.
Class A (up to 5-2)
|TRACI IVEY - WPD CLASS A - 1ST PLACE|
With a remarkable consistency of entrants in each of the four height classes, the A group featured 16 contestants at 5-2 and under. Six competitors were brought out for the first call-out and Florida's Traci Ivey and Illinois' Donna Jones were placed in the middle of the prejudging lineup. Ivey would flex her way to the top spot in unanimous fashion with what the judges viewed as the best balanced overall physique of the class on her 5-2 frame. From Jacksonville, Ivey was the runner-up finisher in both the open and masters classes at this year's NPC Show of Champions in Orlando leading up this this event. She fills the shoes of last year's A class winner Dianne Brown. Brown followed up her 2014 Nationals win with a victorious pro debut at the 2015 Optimum Classic and a qualification to the Physique Olympia where she placed 16th. No doubt Traci Ivey will aspire to do the same.
Runner-up Donna Jones used this year's NPC Branch Warren Classic as a build up to the Nationals with a pair of wins in both the Over 35 and Over 45 Masters classes. Suffice it to say, few if any would guess this competitor to be past 45 in age. From Richmond, Texas, Jones showed excellent structural balance and used striking double biceps and back poses to gain favor with the judges. Her runner-up finish was solid, and it earned her a coveted pro card.
3- Julianne Trebing, Florida 14
4- Chareece Moore, North Carolina 20
5- Barbi Titus, Florida 25
|INDRELL THOMAS - WPD CLASS B - 1ST PLACE|
Class B (over 5-2 and up to and including 5-4)
With a practiced level of stage presence and broad shoulders that helped set off the rest of her physique, Florida's Indrell Thomas followed A class Floridian Traci Ivey to the winner's circle by capturing the B class. At 5-3 3/4, Thomas used the Leila James tune 'Fall For You' as her theme for the evening routine, and it blended well with her overall countenance during her stage time. Hence, the judges fell for her. With Thomas getting her start in bodybuilding winning the lightweight class at the 2012 NPC Southern States, she switched to Physique in 2013 and has been a consistent top-five placer ever since. Coincidentally, last year's B class winner Jaquita Person-Taylor was busy on this same weekend nailing down a fifth-place finish at the Ferrigno Legacy Pro contest in Palm Springs.
Finishing second to Indrell Thomas was Illinois' Victoria Settler in this 18-contestant field. As a quintessential flyer under the radar, Settler's ninth-place finish at the 2014 IFBB North American, and a pair of NPC Junior Nationals placings outside the top five in 2014 and this year, gave little indication of her potential for her runner-up at this event. That changed in a hurry. Her fine-line conditioning and even muscular development was a solid tandem of qualities that led to her a pro card placement that was just two points in front of third placer Laurel Fredette in a competitive class.
3- Laurel Fredette, Massachusetts 13
4- Fallon Brinson, Georgia 20
5- Rachel Gilmore, Washington 27
Class C (over 5-4 and up to and including 5-6)
|STACIA WOODS - WPD CLASS C - 1ST PLACE|
|KAT SECOR - WPD CLASS C - 2ND PLACE|
|LAUREN QUINN - WPD CLASS C - 3RD PLACE|
In another field of 16 contestants it was a pair of 5-foot, 6-inch competitors (the tallest allowable in this class) and a third that was an inch shorter at 5-5 that put on the most competitive class battle of the evening. Georgia's Stacia Woods, Massachusetts' Kat Secor and Lauren Quinn from Illinois, played this class like a muscular chess match. All blonde, all with terrific stage presence, and all with very similar structural identities. Sister-like, it was going to be close. In short, they created a dilemma for the judging panel. Woods and Secor, at the same height, showed subtle differences in their looks. Woods featured an even balance and nice muscle shapes in all her bodyparts, while Secor showed more detail and higher level of conditioning on a longer lean frame. Meanwhile, Quinn stayed close with a sampling of the qualities that both Woods and Secor offered. What to do? Woods was coming off a third-place finish earlier in the year at the NPC Junior USA, while Secor had finished third at the NPC USA during the Summer. Secor was also the only competitor in the first call-out of this class who had previous experience at the NPC Nationals. As for Quinn, she pitched in to the coincidences with a third-place finish at this year's Junior Nationals! What to do? Would judges simply toss their numbers in the air and see who landed first? Not quite. With the final tallies in, Stacia Woods got the nod scoring 8 points. Secor secured the remaining pro qualifying spot with 10 points. And Quinn, well, she fought the good fight and landed third with 12 points. Sometime in the future these three might meet again on a pro stage with Quinn needing to wait until next year's event schedule that offers a pro qualifier. And if all those thirds weren't enough to fill the coincidence file, fifth-placer Sydni Watson finished third at the 2014 NPC Nationals! What to do? Well, there was one more perk from this class. Stacia Woods was crowned the overall winner of the 2015 NPC National Physique Championship. Quite a battle!
4- LaQuida Sanders, Mississippi 20
5- Sydni Watson, Florida 25
Class D (Over 5-6)
|ALYSSA STROUD - WPD CLASS D - 1ST PLACE|
As the antithesis of the C class free-for-all, the D category was much more sedate. The competitiveness in this class of 16 was watered down somewhat by the strong presence of Missouri's Alyssa Stroud. She was simply large and in charge. Stroud's only real competition was mounted by Sheena Washington. Both women were 5-6 1/2, but Stroud's impressive muscle shapes and the overall balance in her structure made her victory a forgone conclusion. From Lee's Summit, Missouri, Stroud began - as hard as it is to believe - in the Figure division. Competing at the national level in Figure in 2008 and '09, her placings were largely unimpressive, but her structure showed promise if she made a decision to carry more muscle weight. In 2010 she made that decision and as a middleweight she won the overall 2010 NPC Europa Super Show. A year later she moved up to the heavyweight class and placed third at the NPC USA. In 2012 she landed fourth HW at the USA, and a year later she placed fifth at the 2013 NPC Nationals. Stroud backed off the competitive stage in 2014, and made another decision to make the switch to Physique. As a national qualifier, Stroud entered and won the overall Physique division at the 2015 Pink Muscle Festival. She also added the 'Best Conditioned' award. Fast forward to this NPC Nationals and Alyssa Stroud - who women's bodybuilding fans had remembered as a National class bodybuilder - was all buffed and shiny as a National class Physique competitor, more streamlined than in the past, but with her victory, she was ready to embark on her journey in the ranks of the pros. And at 28, she has plenty of time to enjoy the ride.
With Stroud's final point total at 6, Sheena Washington's 9-point total was good enough for the runner-up placing and capturing a pro card. To her credit, Washington has made steady progress in her competitions from state to regional to a national event placing sixth at the NPC Texas in 2013, fourth at the NPC Branch Warren Classic in 2014, and saving the best for last with her second-place finish here. From Georgia, Washington will now need to focus on bringing up her lower body to match the qualities of her shoulders, arms and torso. The pro level will a different world for both Stroud and Washington.
3- Delise Johnson, New York 16
4- Kimberly Rieck, Colorado 19
5- Jennifer Keller, Florida 25