Pageant preliminaries conclude

June 28, 2003|by Chris Copley

The Miss Maryland pageant concluded its preliminary round of competition Friday at The Maryland Theatre in Hagerstown with three winners announced by pageant judges.

Miss Catoctin Jessica Diaz, 21, of Cumberland, Md., won the night's talent award. She sang "Havana," title song to an upcoming New York musical, to a thunderous ovation. She earned a $600 scholarship.

Miss Mountain City Rachel Leigh Ellsworth, 19, of Fort Ashby, W.Va., won the swimsuit award, wearing a white bikini. She earned a $150 scholarship.


Miss Southern Maryland Vickie Kalasinsky, 18, of Olney, Md., won the newcomer talent award. She twirled and juggled batons to "Big Noise" by Bette Midler, drawing a roar of applause from the audience. She earned a $500 scholarship.

The final night of Miss Maryland competition begins tonight at 8 at The Maryland Theatre. The 30 contestants will be pared to 10 semi-finalists, then to five finalists - Miss Maryland and four runners-up.

Miss Maryland executive director Sherry Rush said the first two nights of competition - the preliminary rounds - were virtually identical in format. The 30 contestants were divided into the Mu and Delta groups, named for Greek letters.

In Thursday night's competition, members of the Mu group presented their talent. The Delta group modeled swimsuits and evening gowns and answered two questions posed in a short onstage conversation with pageant emcee and Miss America 1981 Susan Powell.

At the end of the first night's competition on Thursday, preliminary awards were given to the highest-scoring talent and rookie talent performers among the Mu group and the top fitness-in-swimsuit contestant in the Delta group.

On Friday, the two groups switched and a second set of awards were given.

The 10 top-scoring competitors proceed to the final, semi-final round tonight, where they compete in all onstage areas of competition again - swimsuit, evening gown, onstage interview and talent.

Five finalists are selected as Miss Maryland finalists. Those five sit in a roundtable discussion with emcee Powell, after which the new Miss Maryland is announced.

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