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The Fitness New England Championships returned for the second consecutive year to Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun hotel and casino. Building on last year’s success, the show saw more than a 100-percent increase in the number of competitors across all divisions, including Fitness, Model, Bikini and Figure, and was broadcast live on ESPN3. Of course, the requirements of a live broadcast meant some changes to the show’s format, including a minute-by-minute schedule to adhered to – nothing could or would run late. The show also put everyone under the gun, particularly hosts Nico Kim and Oxygen’s Abs cover girl, Melissa Pittman, both of whom had to deliver concise, real-time critiques of each competitor. The time constraints also meant a strict schedule on stage, without the longer bikini routines and stage walks that the Fitness America Pageant competitors are accustomed to. All adjusted well, however, and the show went off without a hitch.
1st Place: Amber Ameredes
With an aptly named routine – “Winner” – Amber proved to be just that, winning the entire show. Although Amber claims the title was meant “not in the sense of winning the show, but winning in life and never giving up, no matter what, and being content with who I am and whatever circumstance life brings,” all her training, preparations and choreography led to her earning the title of 2011 Fitness New England Champion.
As a world-class baton twirler, Amber incorporates this talent into most of her routines. For this routine, her expert use of fluorescent twirling ribbons delivered the winning wow-factor.
As far as Amber’s physique is concerned, she’s taking this win to the Fitness Universe in Miami, and has her mind on a leaner physique for the big show.
2nd Place: Anca Bucur
This Romanian competitor, with her ballerina-esque physique, aptly chose the Oscar-winning film Black Swan as her theme. “This was quite a challenging theme that inspired me to create a very complex routine with high-difficulty elements – a combination of flexibility and strength with ballet and dance moves. I felt excellent on the stage. Actually, the stage is the place where I can totally trust myself and believe in the things that I do.”
Not only does she look like a ballerina, she performs like one, too. Her outfit –black with white feathers – combined with her athleticism earned her two perfect scores in the fitness routine round from a panel of five judges, and riotous applause from the audience. However, her swimwear score suffered from the fast-paced interaction with the judges and, perhaps in the show’s regular, slower-paced format, she may have fared better and even won the show.
3rd Place: Alicia Haraskin
This cute competitor won over the judges with her charm and captivating performance. Dressed convincingly like a DJ, Alicia performed her hip-hop routine with true conviction. Alicia used her short time on stage during the physique round wisely. Coming out with great energy, twirls and smiles, she captivated the judges, earning the highest score in the swimwear round. In all, it was a tremendous accomplishment for this young competitor.
4th Place: Christine Sclafani
Christine is one of the many rookies who graced the stage that weekend. She brought a great package to the stage, including a burst of energy and obvious gymnastic and cheer experience. She navigated the stage effectively with an explosive, tumble-heavy routine that was enthusiastically received by the audience. With a bit of refinement to her muscular physique and the incorporation of some additional dance and transitional elements into her routine, Christine should be poised to make waves at the upcoming Fitness Universe show in Miami.
5th Place: Dawn Butterfield
While Dawn’s official career comeback was last November at the Fitness America Championships in Las Vegas, it was still exciting for the audience and her supporters to see the 40-something 2006 Fitness America Champion take the stage with the energy of a 20-something-year-old. She performed a tongue-in-cheek “cougar” themed routine using a live stage prop in the form of super-cute and shirtless hunk, model competitor Mark Samara. Dawn performed some amazing balancing moves, and her hand-walking seemed to be a crowd favorite. She was fully back in her element, and seemed to be bothered only by a little shifting of her itsy-bitsy costume towards the very end of her routine.
Dawn’s physique was spot on, just as you would expect from this veteran competitor, and although she was a little too pale for this stage, it didn’t stop her from putting a lot of younger competitors in their place.
Ms. Bikini New England
Classic Division Winner: Kim Pearson
Short Division Winner: Alicia Haraskin
Tall Division Winner: Teresa Lord (Overall winner)
Model New England
Winner: Kelly Klarich
Figure New England
Classic Division Winner: Shannon Ann Petralito
Short Division Winner: Stephanie Schmid
Tall Division Winner: Kristin Dagilis