Mid South, New South take first competitions|[7/07/05]

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 7, 2005

Miss Mid South Angela Allen makes a healthy life her No. 1 priority in everything she does, and Miss Mississippi Pageant judges have taken notice two years in a row.

Allen, 23, competing in the pageant for the third time this year, won the swimwear competition in Wednesday’s first round of preliminaries. She received the same $300 scholarship award in last year’s first round of preliminaries as Miss Byram/Tri-County.

“It’s just so exciting. It shows hard work really pays off,” she said.

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Allen, a Clinton native, is a nursing major at Mississippi College. Outside of class, she’s learned to be healthy by eating good food without following a specific diet, running and strength-training three times a week. Making health a priority also means not being so nervous when the swimwear competition comes around.

“It’s always a little nerve-wracking, but not so much now. It’s a great way to start the competition,” said Allen.

Miss New South Lacey Cofield, a native of Wiggins, also started the competition with a bang by taking home the night’s talent award.

Cofield, 19, has loved music her entire life. She majors in vocal performance at William Carey College and decided to choose a musical piece she’s comfortable with for her first-time competition in the Miss Mississippi Pageant.

She performed “O Mio Babbino Caro,” from a Giacomo Puccini opera, and her winning performance gained her a $400 scholarship.

“It feels great. Talent is my favorite part of the competition, so it was good to start it out with that – especially winning.” she said.

In tonight’s second preliminary competition at 8, Group A will compete in evening wear, Group B in talent and Group C in swimwear, casual wear/on-stage questions.

The judges score the contestants from one to 10 using whole numbers. Scores are not made public but are added to the composite score in determining the Top 10, which will be announced at the beginning of Saturday night’s show.

The final competition Saturday will be telecast on WLBT-TV3, and the winner will compete in the Miss America pageant in January.

There are 42 contestants in this year’s pageant, the 47th in Vicksburg, and more than $132,000 in scholarships will be awarded to the contestants.