The journey to this years Hercules ironically started the night of last years Herc. Last years show was such an amazing performance as we won 3 pro cards in one night. Any coach would be on cloud 9. Any coach but me. I couldn’t sleep for days as certain questions began to plague me. Was it a fluke ? was it luck ? will the team be able to live up to the performance ? who will be targeting us at the next Herc ? And so the obsession began.
I started early trying to assemble a great group of competitors to come into the 2014 INBF Hercules. My hope was to piece together a team that would hold its own and prove worthy of following up the performance at the 2013 INBF Hercules. The road was a little bumpy as a few competitors dropped out, and typical prep stresses came to the surface.
But as the final weeks started to unfold a familiar feelings began to emerge. The same exact feelings of last year. The momentum was building going into the show, especially with a solid showing at the Northeast Classic. I started to really analyze things and realized that we could very much do what we did in 2013, and possibly even greater.
The stress was definitely running high in the closing weeks. Once again I looked in the mirror and asked myself alot of the same questions from a year ago. Was it a fluke ? was it luck ? will the team be able to live up to the performance ? who will be targeting us ? All these questions forced me as a coach to work even harder, to leave no stone unturned with everyones prep.
In the end it all paid off. Last year Team SUF did the impossible, and then we turned around and did it TWICE. 3 Pro Cards + the Overall in one night. This time in even better fashion and greater force. It was also special because we were able to win the novice class as well with my Cousin Charlie.
Josh Walker – 1st Place Open Lightweight – ** WNBF Pro Card
Kevin Terrier – 1st Place Open Light Heavyweight – ** WNBF Pro Card
Brandon Barrow – 1st Place Open Heavyweight – ** WNBF Pro Card + Overall Winner
Charlee V- 1st Place Novice Bodybuilding Overall
Taniya Brandon – 2nd Place Open Figure Tall
Alicia Cusumano – 5th Place Open Figure Short
Vinny Cofield – 5th Place Masters 50+
Josh Walker WNBF Pro Lightweight– I met Josh last year and we worked together for the first time in his lead up to the 2013 NGA Mt. Rogers. I knew right off the bat he had alot of potential and would go far. We hit the show and ended up in the middle weight class. He held his own, but I knew that the top end of light weights would be a better fit. That day we decided to shoot for Lightweights at the Herc. He made tremendous improvements in the off season to his quads and hamstrings. As soon as I started to see the progress photos I knew that if we could make weight he would be an unstoppable force in light weights. He made it down and the decision we made paid off. WNBF Pro Josh Walker and 2nd in the overall. It was a great sight to see him and his best friend Brandon Barrow pose together on stage in the overall. Look for more improvements from this champion. He isnt 1/2 of the Legion of Doom for nothing, Hes hungry for even more !
Kevin Terrier WNBF Pro Light Heavyweight – BIG KEV! I am so proud of this guy. I remember when we started back in 2012 for the Hercules. I knew back then that if he stuck to it he would become a champion. It started off with two tough 2nd place finishes in the novice classes. It was frustrating for him and I to see him come so close. We wanted to win. But together we made the decision to leave the novice classes behind and shoot for the open classes. His first appearance was at the 2013 INBF Naturalmania. Really tough class, and I had Kev at the 2nd or 3rd spot. He placed 5th. We were both crushed. When things unfold like this you never know how a person will take it. Some pack it in and quit. But not Kev. He remained focused through his off season and worked even harder. Once prep started we made alot of changes to his posing and stage presentation. The 2014 INBF NorthEast Classic would witness the NEW and improved Big Kev. On stage he looked like a completely different competitor. It was phenomenal. He took 1st place in the Open Light Heavyweight class. Unfortunately he missed the top 2 spots in the overall to win the pro card. But now looking back, things happen for a reason. We made even more tweaks and came in and won the pro card at the Hercules. And he was able to be in an overall posedown with 2 other teammates. So I would say things worked out pretty well.
Brandon Barrow – WNBF Pro Heavyweight and Overall Winner – Big Brandon, the other half of the Legion of Doom. Thanos of the Stage ! This guy is serious ! I first worked with Brandon on his lead up to the 2013 NGA Mt Rogers show. It was here that he earned his NGA Pro Card. It was after this show that we made the decision to try and earn his WNBF pro card and the Hercules became the target. We were confident the entire way that if we dialed in Brandon would be overall winner potential. Our hard work showed. His win at the Hercules makes him the first Dual Federation Pro for Team SUF. This is an awesome achievement and it certainly isn’t the end. As mentioned earlier, he is best friends with Josh Walker who he traveled with to NY from VA. The trip was well worth it. On stage Brandon hit all his poses with impactful purpose. It was a great thing to witness. Then he was presented the overall winners trophy by the reining WNBF World Champion Shevon Cunningham. Best thing about it is that Brandon and Josh are both only 22 years old.
Charlee V– I told everyone we were coming back for #1 ! My cousin Charlie doesn’t play around. We met right after the NE Classic and went over the photos and details in order to bring an even better package to the Herc. It sure did pay off. Alot of the rookie posing mistakes from the first show were corrected and the presentation was spot on. These were the only issues we felt needed improvement from the NE Classic so we focused on them hard. What made things even sweeter was for some reason the novice class at the Herc wasn’t divided. It was just a large 10 person class. So not only did he bet out 9 other competitors, but he beat out competitors well above his weight. It meant alot to me to see my cousin up there in the middle for majority of the time. He held his own like a champion. He put in the work and did not tire at all on stage. Stood strong the entire way. Now that he has won the novice class he will be looking to make some quick improvements and will be in his first open class appearance at the 2014 INBF Naturalmania.
Taniya Brandon – Our newly crowned WNBF Fit Body Pro from the NE Classic came down to the Herc to go for the figure pro card as well. She looked amazing as usual and really popped on stage. The match up was close, but the judges felt that she was 2nd place on that day. I personally had a different feeling, but I wasn’t judging. Taniya now plans to focus on making improvements for her pro debut at the NE Classic of 2015. I hope that she will also make a run for the Figure pro card as well. The team would really like to see her become Team SUF’s first dual category pro. I am very proud of Taniya and the progress she has made in a year. Shes a great team player and always knows how to ease the tension. Shes fun to be around and she represents Team SUF and the WNBF very well.
Alicia Cusumano – Alicia was coming off a novice class victory at the 2013 Naturalmania and was focused on doing the Herc. She had a very productive off season and made alot of great improvements to her physique. Getting her to drop weight was a little bit rough at first, but it eventually started moving. There were some ups and downs with her prep, but she is a fighter and never gave up. To get that added conditioning I even made her join my Junkyard group fitness classes. I had her do that in substitution for cardio. The hard working class environment gave her the push she needed. We always had a great group of people who worked extremely hard and was very supportive of Alicia. In the end things turned out well. Her goal was to place top 5 in her first open appearance and she achieved her goal. A champion isn’t always measured by trophies, it is sometimes measured by distance traveled. And when viewed through that lens, Alica is 1st place in my eyes. From having weight issues all the way up to open figure. Not to mention she has more fans than I do. People randomly coming up to her giving her gifts and protein bars. Stuff like that adds even more magic to the day. The plan is to take a break from competing and to focus on building an even more solid foundation for her next open figure appearance.
Vinny Cofield – Yo, Wheres Vinny ? lol Vinny had a great showing and bumped into some real tough competition in the Masters 50 class. The guys were all freaks. Vinny poses extremely well and has alot of muscle mass and potential. His lats are always the widest on the stage. The area of focus needs to be his conditioning if he is ever going to get the masters pro card. I know he can eventually do it. Vinny loves to have a good time at the shows and is alwys very helpful and supportive of his teammates. A true team player. Look for him to make more improvements and hopefully he will come back for another round next year.
The 2014 INBF Hercules will go down as my most memorable moment in the sport of natural bodybuilding. The day had a certain magic to it. I feel that I couldn’t of asked for a better day. Our girl Heather Drake was on the official poster. Heather flew from Ohio to be at the show as a backstage coach and awards presenter. 3 pro cards in mens bodybuilding. The overall win + 2nd place (Legion of Doom). My cousin winning the novice class. Solid placings everywhere else. Tons of fans and supporters. It was a day a will cherish for the rest of my life. To Team SUF and its supporters….Thank you for the memories.