Miss Maryland, Miss West Virginia will return home with list of new friends and stories

January 14, 2012

Miss Maryland Carlie Colella of Hagerstown and Miss West Virginia Spenser Wempe of Shepherdstown, W.Va., will return home Sunday from the Miss America Pageant with memories of being one of 53 contestants on a nationally televised program, a list of new friends and stories to one day tell their grandchildren.

However, neither will come home with the crown during the show's live broadcast Saturday on ABC. Neither Colella nor Wempe were named to the top 15 of the 53 contestants who represented all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

In the program's more than 90-year history, there has never been a Miss Maryland or Miss West Virginia named Miss America.

Miss Oklahoma Betty Thompson won viewers' votes as she was named America's Choice Semifinalist through online voting for this year's pageant.

The remaining 14 contestants named were Miss South Carolina Bree Boyce, Miss Florida Kristina Janola, Miss New York Kaitlin Monte, Miss Iowa Jessica Pray, Miss Texas Kendall Morris, Miss Virginia Elizabeth Crot, Miss Illinois Hannah Smith, Miss Arizona Jennifer Sedler, Miss Alabama Courtney Porter, Miss Tennessee Erin Hatley, Miss Wisconsin Laura Kaeppeler, Miss North Carolinan Hailey Best, Miss California Noelle Freeman and Miss Louisiana Hope Anderson.

Colella was introduced at the show's opening from the Ghostbar at Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, asking the audience to enjoy the state's blue crabs under the glow of rockets' red glare.

Wempe was introduced at Planet Hollywood Casino and bragged that West Virginia had enough natural gas to power the nation.

Chris Harrison of ABC's "The Bachelor" and Brooke Burke-Charvet of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" hosted the live event at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

Judges included professional dancer Mark Ballas, Emmy award-winning TV personality Raul de Molina, TV and film producer Mike Fleiss, reality TV personality Kris Jenner, actress Teri Polo, fitness guru Chris Powell and Lara Spencer of "Good Morning America."

Miss America will be named live before the show's finale at 11 p.m.

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