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From Bobcat Offensive Lineman to BodyBuilding Competitor: Staub Wins Teenage Division of 2016 NPC Mid-Atlantic Gran-Prix

(Story and photos submitted)

On November 13, 2015 Kenneth “Will” Staub played his last game for the Clarion Area High School football team. A two year starter on the Bobcat offensive line, the 5’6” center tipped the scales at approximately 240 pounds as walked off the field following a playoff loss to Curwensville.

Will with his parents, Kenn and Susan Staub, at the 2016 Clarion Area Football Banquet following his senior season

Will with his parents, Kenn and Susan Staub, at the 2016 Clarion Area Football Banquet following his senior season

On November 12, 2016, Will, having lost over 80 pounds in the year since his last game as a Bobcat, took the stage in Wheeling, WV as a National Physique Committee (NPC) true novice bodybuilder. Weighing in at 157 pounds he walked off the stage later that day as the 2016 NPC Mid-Atlantic Grand Prix Teenage Division Champion.

Ryan Stankovic, a highly regarded NPC competitor and co-owner of Top Caliber (TC) Muscle, became Will’s coach in early-December 2015. Stankovic, a Clarion University graduate now living in Reading, PA, noted that “as football ended, we started to get more serious about tightening up Will’s diet and making the transition from training in the weight room as a football player to training as a bodybuilder.” Owing to the amount of weight to be lost and concerns regarding skin tightness, Stankovic encouraged Will to shoot for a Spring 2017 competition debut. After seeing some significant progress during his first few months under Stankovic, however, Will started to express serious interest last March about stepping on the stage and competing in Fall 2016. Says Stankovic, “at just under 14 weeks out from this show [early August], we decided to move forward into contest prep and if things weren’t panning out we would have a great start for 2017. But, Will’s motivation and dedication would not allow for that. He had a goal in mind, and he was going to do everything in his power to make it happen. I gave him the plan and he executed if flawlessly.”

Will with his coach Ryan Stankovic, NPC competitor and owner of TC Muscle from May 2016 (taken by K. Staub)

Will with his coach Ryan Stankovic, NPC competitor and owner of TC Muscle from May 2016 (taken by K. Staub)

From August through early-November, Will’s caloric intake was continually cut, with carbohydrates in particular being drastically diminished the closer and closer he got to the contest. Despite an increasingly restrictive diet, Will continued to work in the weight room six days a week and do a vigorous cardio program on the treadmill for up to two hours everyday. Stankovic noted that “The final weeks leading into a show can test a person’s will and dedication. As a competitor myself, I know that the final weeks of prep are among the hardest things an individual can do, both physically and mentally. I have top national-level competitors complain and express their resentment at this important time. Will, on the other hand, just kept pressing forward. Not once did I hear him complain or make excuses. Nothing was ever uttered in a negative manner.” Clarion University faculty member Tony Vega, a former bodybuilder himself and Stankovic’s mentor, rounded out Will’s content prep by generously agreeing to help him master the compulsory competition poses and learn a free posing routine. Doing so added an additional hour to Will’s nineteen hour workout week.

All systems were go November 11, 2016 when Will checked in with the promoters at the show’s venue, Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack. What a difference a year makes, as a vastly transformed Will took the stage the next day at approximately 11:30AM for pre-judging. During pre-judging, the contest’s panel of jurists had Will strike each of the eight mandatory poses to evaluate his muscle mass, definition, proportion, and symmetry. Will admitted to having mixed feelings prior to taking the stage for the first time. He was excited to be finally be doing what all the bodybuilders he looked up to do, as well as to see how he compared to other competitors. He was simultaneously nervous, worried about what would happen if he forgot or missed a pose. Will noted that “I have played sports before, but bodybuilding is totally different. There is no playbook like in football.”

Will posing onstage during the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Grand Prix in Wheeling, WV (taken by K. Staub)

Will posing onstage during the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Grand Prix in Wheeling, WV (taken by K. Staub)

Following a break of several hours, Will returned to the stage later that evening for further evaluation during his free posing routine, which was executed to the song “Sun King” by The Cult. When he finished his routine, Will was named winner of the Teenage Division, presented with a large winner’s trophy, and posed for photos.

Following the show, Walt Minich, owner of Walt Minich Fitness in Clarion and Will’s trainer through high school, attributed years of dedication, focus, and a machine-like work ethic to his achievement. “Will’s passion and respect for the sport of bodybuilding and love of the iron [which Minich initially fostered] goes deep to its roots, as he studies both the titans of today and the legends of the past.” Minich predicts that if Will maintains his dedication and drive he will go far in the sport.

Stankovic was also very complementary of Will, noting “he is a teenager who has more discipline, respect, and professionalism than most adults. He is the perfect client. He checks in on time, he asks good questions, he has an open mind and is eager to learn, and “will” (pun intended) run through a brick wall if I asked him. Seeing someone who has come so far at such a young age, coming from a starting point where one glance and ‘bodybuilder’ would have never crossed your mind, seeing someone, a teenager, work so hard for something, THAT makes me proud. THAT makes me want to push harder in my own endeavors. THAT makes me love what I do.”

Will is back in the gym and following a reverse diet program in anticipation of the Winter “Improvement Season” and competing during Spring 2017. He wants to increase muscle mass in the weight room, as well as be more cut, defined, and better conditioned for upcoming shows. Stankovic is excited to keep working with Will as he prepares for spring contests. “We will continue to focus on improving, and I know each show he will get better and better. This is a fifty-two week lifestyle, not a fourteen week lifestyle. I know Will is up for the challenge.”

Will with his first place trophy for winning the Teenage Division of the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Grand Prix in Wheeling, WV (taken by K. Staub)

Will with his first place trophy for winning the Teenage Division of the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Grand Prix in Wheeling, WV (taken by K. Staub)

There are a lot of people Will gives credit to for helping him through his transformation and realizing his dream. “Walt Minich got me started in all this, got me bigger and strong for football. Ryan is a great coach and helped me become a bodybuilder. I look forward to working with him in the future and benefiting from his guidance. Dr. Vega put in a lot of time helping me and my posing routine was dedicated to him. Brian Hoydic [an International Federation of Bodybuilding professional from Westlake, OH and Stankovic’s partner in TC Muscle] helped me get through the grind and chaos of the competition itself. Vince Brasco [a competitive bodybuilder known as “The Mini Hulk” from Greensburg, PA] offered support and encouragement throughout the day. Of course, my family has always supported me and played a large part in helping me get where I am.”

Will, a 2016 graduate of Clarion Area High School, is the son of Kenneth and Susan Staub. A freshman at Clarion University, Will is majoring in Liberal Arts with a Library Science Concentration.

(Great Job, Will!!!!)