My advice: don't worry about whether or not you'll get your ass handed to you. Just make sure you DON'T get your ass handed to you by being the absolute best you can be. Don't half-ass it, find a diet, an ultra rigid diet, and stick to it with military precision. Find a training scheme and stick to it with military precision. Let nothing stand in the way betwen you, your diet, and your training.
You do that, and you can do well in any competition, national qualifier or not.
So ultimately, my advice is: aim high.