Brooklyn's Dominick Cardone, Jr. made an incredible national-level debut this past weekend at the NPC Teenage Nationals in Pittsburgh with a stunning Heavyweight class win. Former Teen Nationals Overall Champions include IFBB Pros Shawn Ray, Branch Warren, Craig Richardson, and Jason Huh. Just about everyone in attendance and following along at home online felt Dominick was the clear choice for the Overall Teenage title, but in the end the judges didn't give him the nod. "It's okay," Dominick said today. "There have been a couple other guys who won the Heavies at this show but missed the Overall, and went on to bigger things." One of those is rookie pro and last year's USA Champion, Steve Kuclo. The other is four-time Mr. Olympia and three-time Arnold Classic Champion Jay Cutler!
At 5-8 and 206 pounds of dense, conditioned muscle, 19-year-old Dominick seemed to be a man amongst boys and had gained twelve pounds of quality muscle since his last contest in November of 2011. Gaspari Nutrition products were part of his arsenal as he prepared for the Teen Nationals. "In the off-season I relied quite a bit on MyoFusion and Size-On Maximum Performance to help make gains, and as I got closer to the show I was using more Intrapro and in the final three weeks the new Aminolast during cardio to increase my endurance and help me hold on to my mass." Superpump Max was a staple throughout to fuel his ferocious workouts as he targeted the biggest show of his career thus far.
Also guiding him was his coach Oscar Ardon, most notable for working with Kai Greene for all his pro wins, as well as Evan Centopani and Victor Martinez. "In the final seven weeks, Oscar supervised it all," he says. "He laid out my diet, and pushed me past my limits working out at his private gym right here in Brooklyn where Kai, Evan, and Victor have trained many times in the past. It was an honor to finish out my prep in that dungeon where champions have been forged."
Dominick wants to thank all the other members of Team Gaspari who motivated and encouraged him en route to his win, as well as his parents Dominick Sr. and Janine, Oscar Ardon, his girlfriend Natalie, Mike Jirovic; his friend and co-owner of their store Aggressive Nutrition, John Gabucci, and Gleniese Marks.
Dominick was the talk of the weekend in Pittsburgh, and more than one pro even suggested he could probably drop down to light-heavy and win his class this weekend at the USA. Cardone isn't stepping onstage again so soon, however. "I want to take full advantage of the post-contest rebound and make some substantial gains in the next couple months," he explained. His plans for 2013 include training for and winning a Men's Open show later in the season and then making his first attempt at the NPC Nationals. There was some buzz from those who have a good eye for potential that Dominick has what it takes to possibly someday repeat the success of that other Teen Nationals Heavyweight winner, Jay Cutler. Cardone isn't making any grand predictions, but he is confident and optimistic about his future in the sport, as he should be. "One thing I can promise is that I won't disappear like so many other teenage champions have," he says. "I'll be working harder than ever because my motivation is through the roof now. I have an excellent support system backing me up, and you ain't seen nothing yet."