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Miss Maryland Pageant gets under way at theater

June 27, 2003|by Chris Copley

chrisc@herald-mail.com

After the first night of competition at The Maryland Theatre in Hagerstown, the Miss Maryland Pageant wrapped up a long night by awarding three awards. With 30 competitors - the most ever - the first night of preliminary competition ran more than three hours.

Miss Monocacy Nikki Gouker, of Hagerstown, won the first night's talent award with a blazing country-flavored tap dance to the instrumental "Roller Coaster." For the win she will receive a $600 scholarship.

This was the second year Gouker has won a preliminary talent award.

Miss Chesapeake Tiffany Jenkins, of Silver Spring, Md., won the swimsuit contest. She will receive $150 in scholarship money.

Miss Queen City Elizabeth Borowsky, of Baltimore, won the newcomer talent award for her emotional performance of an original piano piece, "Northern Lights." Her award brought her a $500 scholarship.

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The evening began with a large dance number featuring all 30 contestants in solid-color evening gowns or pantsuits. They danced to a tune sung by guest artist Dustin James. The 30 young women danced as James strutted and wove among them.

Miss America 1981 Susan Powell, host of Discovery Channel's "Home Matters," handled the duties as mistress of ceremonies. She worked with Miss Maryland 2002 Camille Lewis to introduce contestants as they competed in the first night's events.

The contestants were divided into two groups. The first group of contestants modeled their evening wear, answered two questions in a short interview with Powell and later modeled swimsuits. The second group performed their talent.

During their interviews, the contestants spoke about their platforms, their career hopes and their interests.

Miss Southern Maryland Vickie Kalasinsky competed in France as a member of Team USA's baton twirling team. Jenkins, Miss Chesapeake, talked about staying up all night watching "The Little Mermaid" repeatedly the night her mother bought it. Miss Howard County Kinya Young said she decided to work harder on her singing - after getting booed off the stage of Apollo Theater in New York City when she sang in a choral group.

The talent covered a wide spectrum of stage performances, from tap dance to dance to singing. All the contestants danced several large production numbers - in evening gowns to open and close the evening and in swimsuits to open the second half.

The two groups of contestants will switch during the second round of preliminary competition tonight.

The top 10 contestants will advance to Saturday night's competition. One winner will be crowned Miss Maryland; four runners-up also will be recognized.

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