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With so many athletes competing at Strongman Corporation Nationals — held November 10-12 in Las Vegas — across several different weight classes, breaking down who's who is a daunting task. Someone always appears out of nowhere and has a performance that comes as a surprise to everyone except for a few training partners and locals.
With that said, let’s take a look at a few athletes in each class who you should be paying attention to this weekend as they compete to go pro and qualify for the Arnold Amateur World Championships.
Lightweight Under 150lb
The under 150lb class has been slowly gaining popularity since it was introduced a few years ago. Since the start, Brad Baldwin has been the king, winning nationals the last two years. Can anyone prevent the three-peat?
The only class that still doesn't have a pro division makes those competing at nationals the best of the best in the division. Being the weight class I competed in, it holds a special place in my heart and the athletes continue to push the envelope.
Richie “Lights Out” Stout won the Arnold and nationals in 2016, so he has to be one of the favorites this year. After placing second at the Arnold earlier this year in March, you know he is hungry to regain the No. 1 spot.
Always in the mix, Quint is possibly the most consistent athlete in the 175 division over the past five years; he is no stranger to being on a podium.
Another veteran of the sport with multiple trips to the Arnold World Championships, Mike is always right on the cusp of breaking through. Could 2017 be his year?
Middleweights Under 200lb
Ryan won the 200lb class in 2016 and is looking to win it again.
Scott has been competing in Strongman at a national level for years and has been to the Arnold in 2015. Always a tough competitor, he is looking to punch another ticket to the Arnie.
A colorful competitor with some really good overhead strength, especially with clean each rep. Cole could really shine at nationals as the lack of a barbell deadlift. His Achilles heel is not an event this year.
Tom already got his Arnold invite by winning the Anaheim Fit Expo earlier this year. Tom is looking to earn his pro card at Nationals.
Chris Slater got sixth place at nationals last year and is always right in the mix.
Tommy placed top 10 last year at nationals and followed that up by taking sixth at the Arnold World Championships. Tommy continues to improve on his placings at big contests and could make it onto the podium.
A middleweight pro is looking to get his heavyweight pro card. After a phenomenal performance winning the Mid-Atlantic Strongman Challenge and fourth-place finish at Giants Live Indiana against multiple Worlds Strongest Man competitors, Dave has proved he belongs with the best in the world he just wants to make it official now.
Matt is another athlete that is already a pro in the middleweight division but has been packing on the muscle and looks extremely strong going into nationals. He is a front-runner to get the heavyweight pro card.
Pena has been right there going after his pro card at multiple contests the last few years — could 2017 be his year?
By Kalle Beck. Kalle Beck is a Lightweight Strongman Competitor who runs Starting Strongman which is devoted to getting people interested in the sport of Strongman and showing that it is truly for everyone. Kalle can be contacted for Online Training at KalleBeck@StartingStrongman.com