Jackie Jerlecki of Goshen, was crowned Miss Indiana 2011 tonight at the Zionsville High School Performing Arts Center in Zionsville, Indiana.
Jackie, Miss Duneland, is 22 and a recent graduate of Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. Jackie is a vocalist and won a preliminary talent award earlier this week for her performance of “Take Me to the World,” from the musical Evening Primrose. Her platform is, “Support the Arts, a Vital Part of a Vibrant Community,” and she will represent Indiana at the Miss America Pageant in Las Vegas in January of 2012.
First runner-up to Miss Indiana was Miss Collegiate Crossroads to America, Carolyne Holcomb, 22 of Terre Haute; 2nd runner-up was Miss Southern Heartland, Ashley Casterline, 23, of Fishers; 3rd runner-up was Miss Purdue University, MerrieBeth Cox, 21, of Roselle, IL and 4th runner-up was Miss Limberlost, Victoria McKee, 23, of Kendallville.
Thirty-one young women between the ages of 17 and 24, from all over Indiana, competed this week in two preliminary nights of competition in talent, lifestyle and fitness in swimwear, evening wear and onstage question, and all had a ten-minute private interview with judges. From this, a Top 10 group of finalists was named at the beginning of tonight’s competition.
For the second year, fans were able to vote online for a favorite contestant who was then named the Peoples’ Choice 11th Semi-Finalist and competed in tonight’s final competition. Ashley Casterline was named the Peoples’ Choice Semi-Finalist. The remaining Semi-Finalists were Miss Hoosier Heartland, Rachael Bazzell, 22, of New Carlisle, Miss South Central Presley Moreland, 18, of Bicknell, Miss South Bend Leanna Ross, 22, of New Carlisle, Miss Heart of Indiana Emily Hart, 24, of Fort Wayne, Miss Banks of the Wabash Jeniece Fleming, 24, of Indianapolis and Miss Wabash Valley Katie Donnar, 20, of Bruceville.
Katie Stam, Miss Indiana 2008 and Miss America 2009 presented the “Joy of Life” Award, in honor and memory of Joy Robbins, a dear friend of the Miss Indiana Organization. This year’s winner, who was anonymously chosen based upon her essay was Miss Central Indiana Lauren Petersen, 22, of Bluffton.
Other awards were presented to Carolyne Holcomb and Jackie Jerlecki for Outstanding Interview, Miss Elkhart County Mekayla Diehl, 20, of Bristol, for Non-Finalist Interview and Miss Harvest Homecoming Charnette Batey, 20, of New Albany won Non-Finalist Talent for her vocal rendition of “Home” from the musical The Wiz.
The Children’s Miracle Network “Miracle Maker” Award was presented to Miss Ball State University Kara Mitchell, 21, of Prince George, Virginia. The John Price Community Service Award went to Rachael Bazzell, the Hoosier Leadership Award went to Lauren Petersen, and the Arts in Action Dance Award went to MerrieBeth Cox. Miss West Central Hannah Clingan, 21, of Covington received the Newcomer Award. Jeniece Fleming won the Miss America Community Service Award and Lauren Petersen was named Miss Congeniality.
Gabrielle Reed, Miss Indiana 2010 passed on her crown tonight. Gabrielle, of Bloomington, is a student at Indiana University’s Jacob’s School of Music and was a Non-Finalist Talent Winner at Miss America 2011.