Hometown girl wins pageant Miss Carroll hails from Westminster

January 11, 1993|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

Miss Carroll County's crown has finally come home.

Stacy L. Smith of Westminster, who earned the title of Miss Carroll County on Saturday night, is the first local woman to win that honor in seven years, said Terry England, the executive director of the Miss Carroll County pageant.

"Carroll County means a lot to me, because I do live here," said Ms. Smith, 22, who is pursuing a master's degree in clinical psychology at Towson State University. "I'm real excited that I won."

Ms. Smith is no stranger to the field of competition. A pageant participant since she was 14, Ms. Smith won the titles of Miss Maryland National Teen-ager in 1987, Miss U.S. Teen in 1989 and Maryland Young Miss of America in 1991.

She also won the third runner-up spot in the 1991 Miss Carroll County competition.

"I wanted to start on the Miss America preliminaries for the scholarships," Ms. Smith said. She will compete in the Miss Maryland pageant June 26 in Hagerstown.

Only three local women -- Ms. Smith, Denise Crigger of Westminster and Rachelle Herrell of Eldersburg -- were among the six to participate in the two-hour pageant at Liberty High in Eldersburg.

The other contestants -- including first and second runners-up Sarah Greenfelder and Lauren Arnold -- were from Baltimore County, Prince George's County and Ocean City.

That's a trend Ms. England hopes to stop next year. Although many of the regional pageants are open to any state resident in preparation for the Miss Maryland title, Ms. England wants to limit the Carroll pageant to Carroll County women.

"It's hard to get a community oriented to the contest if the girl is from Baltimore County or Howard County," she said. "It's a lot better and a lot easier if you have your own girl win."

At least five Carroll County women would need to enter the contest to close it to nonresidents, Ms. England said. She is hoping at least 10 enter.

"There are too many girls going around the state to other contests," she said. "There are enough girls in each county for them to just stay home."

Contest organizers must also fight the community perception that the Miss Carroll County contest is based on beauty, Ms. England said.

"That's a stigma we have to get rid of, and it's a hard stigma to get rid of," she said. "[The contest] is based on scholarship."

Ms. England said she expects that Ms. Smith, who plans to attend medical school for pediatrics when she completes her master's degree work, will be able to change that image.

Ms. Smith "is going for her graduate degree in clinical psychology, so that should help us a little," Ms. England said.

Ms. Smith said she plans to remain involved in the community, particularly since she has won the Miss Carroll County title.

Although the 1988 Owings Mills High School graduate has only lived here for six years with her mother, Martha Yox, Ms. Smith said she has been involved with Carroll County for much longer.

"I did volunteer water therapy work with the Carroll County Education Center when we lived [in Reisterstown]," Ms. Smith said. "I hope to be very involved in activities here.

"Since I live around here, I plan to participate in anything I hear about."

Ms. Smith -- who won the talent competition with her vocal rendition of "Broadway Baby" -- said she is pursuing a career in pediatrics because the field needs caring people.

"I've worked with emotionally disturbed children as a volunteer," she said yesterday. "I would be very devoted to it, and feel it is a big necessity. My heart would be in it as well as my head."

Although the 1992 Loyola College graduate excelled in the talent category, it was not her favorite part of the contest.

"I really enjoy the interview," she said of the 10-minute session each contestant has with the judges. "Some people get nervous, but personally I find it very relaxing. It's just a time for the judges to find out what type of person you are."

For the swimsuit category, Ms. Smith modeled a one-piece she received from last year's Miss Carroll County, Marci Biddinger.

"You're basically trying to get [a suit] like the ones they have in the Miss America competition," Ms. Smith said. "You don't want anything flashy. It's just to show your proportions and body tone and that you are physically fit."

The final category was the evening gown competition, during which each contestant must answer a question. Ms. Smith, wearing a teal beaded-and-sequined gown, gave her opinions on the United States' involvement in Somalia.

"We should solve the problems in our own country before we help other countries," she said.

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