HAGERSTOWN — Carlie Colella of Hagerstown will represent Maryland in the 2012 Miss America Pageant.
Colella, Miss Central Maryland, received the crown Saturday in the 2011 Miss Maryland Scholarship Pageant at The Maryland Theatre.
"I feel amazing," she said.
The thought that her name would be the last called, the name bearing the title of Miss Maryland, never crossed her mind, she said.
On stage with many veteran competitors, she admitted that this was her first state pageant, she said.
Colella credited Miss Maryland 2010 Lindsay Staniszewski for inspiring her to compete.
"I did not place at my first local competition," she said. "Lindsay encouraged me and said I was needed on the stage."
Watching her daughter being crowned Saturday night left Linda Colella stunned, she said.
"I was just speechless," she said.
Going into the competition, her advice to her daughter was just to have fun and, regardless of the outcome, enjoy herself.
As the new Miss Maryland, Colella will receive a $10,000 scholarship and other gifts.
She will compete in the national competition in January in Las Vegas, said Sherry Rush, executive director of Miss Maryland.
Despite the overwhelming experience of being crowned, Colella said she plans to remain focused on her platform, "Empowerment of Women: Creating an Equal Opportunity for Success," and work toward January.
In the Miss Maryland Outstanding Teen competition, Ally Soule, Miss Frederick Outstanding Teen, was crowned Saturday.
With her title, Ally received a $500 scholarship and other gifts.
She will represent the state in the national competition in Orlando, Fla.
Other winners Saturday in the Miss Maryland Competition were: