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FIT BODIES TAKE CENTER STAGE AT NATIONALS

Travis Wolford takes two titles

By Paradis Jolie Fejerang

Contestants, judges, and fans filed into the ballroom of the RHIGA Royal Laguna Guam for the ‘23 National Bodybuilding Championship. Though the crowd was congested, their energy added to the positive environment of the competition as each contestant in every category was cheered on, displaying the fruits of their labor through a fantastic display of physique.

Throughout the evening, fifteen categories were presented with a total of forty competitors filling the classes/divisions. Of those forty, four Overall winners were named of the five overall categories, in which Travis Wolford achieved the honor twice in the night for both Men’s Bodybuilding and Men’s Classic Physique. The other three who earned the Overall medal were Czyz Leonen for Men’s Physique, Angela Diaz for Wellness, and Jeemin Hur for Bikini.

What seemed to be the most emotional moment of the night came from the final winner of the night, Jeemin Hur, whose encouraging family and friends among the audience seemed to bring her near tears though she kept her composure when her name was called for ‘1st place’ in the Bikini Class A category and again when she was announced as the ultimate Overall winner for Bikini.

Hur shared pieces of her journey to close the evening. Getting into bodybuilding as her significant other, who also participated in the competition encouraged her to. “I was never fit and I was never confident before, but then I started working out…my boyfriend has been competing and [encouraged me], so I said, ‘Okay, I’ll try!’”

Jeemin Hur takes the win as Overall in the NPC Women’s Bikini category at the 2023 NPC Guam National Bodybuilding Championships. (photo by Tanya Gillins)

Despite her remarkable wins, Hur found herself shocked by the results. “I felt really grateful…I didn’t [think] that I would win,” she shares. Since preparing for the competition, Hur has been nonstop at the gym with at least an hour and a half of weight training and cardio every single day stating, “I didn’t know it was going to be this hard but I didn’t want to give up.”

Finally, getting to competition day to be on the stage and seeing her support system helped in easing her nerves as she shares that seeing them in the crowd made her feel proud of herself. “[My family and friends] really make me happy. It reminds me of why I started training.”

Other notable wins of the evening surround the exciting Men’s Physique categories. With the largest number of competitors to walk on the stage for a category, a certain few contestants seemed to dominate their respective classes.

When you can just make out the discussion through a deafening ballroom of cheers and there seems to be a consensus on who will take the gold, that’s how you know the competitor cleared the category. That’s what happened when it came to the categories for Men’s Physique Class A, Class D, and Masters. With Dannie Baisa for Class A, Zhibao Lin for Class D, and Czyz Leonen for Masters, the presentation from the stage as soon as these respective contestants walked up the steps made the collective decisions for the judges as to who gets the gold seem easy.

Top Three Placements – 2023 NPC Michelob Ultra Guam National Bodybuilding Championships

Men’s Bodybuilding

Bantamweight

  1. Julius Raposa
  2. Jonathan Borja

Lightweight

  1. Travis Wolford (Overall)
  2. Reggie Lareza

Light-Heavyweight

  1. Jaevon Fuller
  2. Will Toves
  3. Jason Cruz

Men’s Classic Physique

Class A

  1. Travis Wolford (Overall)
  2. Eric Slough
  3. Reggie Lareza

Class B

  1. Ryan Rios
  2. Ikhyun Tevid
  3. Cheser Saurez

Class C

  1. Jaevon Fuller
  2. Zhibao Lin

Men’s Physique

Class A

  1. Dannie Baisa
  2. Mark Espeleta
  3. Richard Hale III

Class B

  1. Czyz Leonen (Overall)
  2. Joseph Laxamana
  3. Kiko Damian

Class C

  1. Jared Aninzo
  2. Ikhyun Tevid
  3. Jonathan Borja

Class D

  1. Zhibao Lin
  2. Jarwin Espiritu
  3. Christian Guillen

Men’s Physique Masters

  1. Czyz Leonen
  2. Dannie Baisa
  3. Dannie Baisa

Wellness

Class A

  1. Angela Diaz (Overall)
  2. Ruby Bautista

Bikini

Class A

  1. Jeemin Hur (Overall)
  2. Angela Diaz
  3. Zoey Chargualaf

Class B

  1. Ruby Bautista
  2. Krystal Paco-San Agustin
  3. Melissa Leonen

Bikini Masters

  1. Leanna Baisa
  2. Ruby Bautista
  3. Victoria Bulquerin

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QUICK HITS

Shawn Bamba won the Arizona state wrestling championship while siblings Jussiah and Justyn took third place in their divisions at state.
Shawn (12th) won the 150-lb division while Jussiah (11th) took bronze in the 120-lb class and Justyn (9th) took bronze in the 106-lb category.
All three were born on Guam before moving to Surprise, Arizona in 2014, where they all picked up wrestling in 2016.
Their parents are Justin and Shannon Bamba from Pago Bay.
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Christian Delos Santos, son of Richard Delos Santos (Barrigada) and Norma Larimer Delos Santos (Dededo), won the Kentucky High School Athletic Association wrestling state championship in the 113-lb weight class.
His sister Naiya took 3rd place in the 100-lb girls division.

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