LEWISTOWN Residents of Lewistown have a very good reason to keep an eye on the Miss Pennsylvania Pageant in June.
Abigail Traxler, 12, a seventh grader at Mifflin County Middle School, won the title Miss Freedom Forge's Outstanding Teen 2014. Her title came after a full day of competition Saturday during the 2014 Miss Central Pennsylvania Pageant, held at MCMS in Lewistown.
Traxler, the daughter of John and Karla Traxler, said it feels nice to have had this opportunity to compete. She also said the day was everything she thought it was going to be.
Sentinel photo by TIM SHUMAKER
Miss Freedom Forge Outstanding Teen 2014 Abigail Traxler sings “For Good” to the audience Saturday during the competition portion of the Miss Central Pennsylvania Pageant in Lewistown. Traxler, of Lewistown, and five other contestants from Saturday’s event are now eligible to compete in the Miss Pennsylvania Pageant in June.
"I had been looking forward to meeting all of the girls, and getting to know them better was a wonderful part of the day," Traxler said.
Traxler said her goal once the competition began was to keep herself calm and collected, which she said was actually fairly easy to accomplish.
"The judges were really nice, which helped to calm my nerves," she said. "But regardless of how calm I was, when I stepped on stage my nerves came back just a little bit, but I think that happens to everyone."
Traxler is one of six contestants from Saturday's event who will move on to the state-level pageant. The other winners include: Miss Central Pennsylvania 2014 Ashley Valentin; Miss Greater Juniata Valley Marla Peiffer; Miss Freedom Forge Lauren Johns; Miss Central Pennsylvania's Outstanding Teen Hannah Piston; and Miss Greater Juniata Valley's Teen Victoria Vespeco.
Traxler and the other girls competing in both the Miss Central Pennsylvania and Miss Central Pennsylvania Outstanding Teen divisions were judged in three distinct phases that varied slightly between the two divisions. The Miss Central Pennsylvania judging consists of interview, talent, evening wear and on-stage question, along with lifestyle and fitness in swimsuit. The judging for the Miss Central Pennsylvania Outstanding Teen pageant is very similar, except the teens compete in the lifestyle and fitness in sportswear, rather than swimsuits.
While the interview portion of the day occurred prior to the actual start of competition, contestants did their best to impress the judges. Pageant Executive Director John Metzger said he believed the competition was very close.
"I thought the talent competition was excellent," Metzger said. "I thought it would have been decided in the interview portion, but the judges said that was very close (as well)."
Traxler's mom, Karla Traxler, said she was excited and proud of her daughter.
"This pageant was talent filled," Karla said. "During the crowning ceremony, I was (still) hoping every time I didn't hear her name, but I am so proud of her. She did a wonderful job."
Now the six winners are setting their eyes on the Miss Pennsylvania Pageant, and Traxler has already set a goal for the next phase.
"My goal would be to place in the top 10 at the state level," Traxler said. "I am only 13 and will have a hard time winning the national pageant, which you can only compete in once in each division."
Traxler said placing would give the experience without losing the option of competing at the national level when she gets older.
Metzger said he believes Traxler is the first Lewistown resident to ever win a title to move on to the state pageant.
The emcee's who kept Saturday's pageant flowing smoothly were a star-studded cast in their own right: Miss Pennsylvania 2013 Annie Rosellini; country music performer Chris Ruble, Miss Central Pennsylvania 2013 Brenna Carnuccio, Miss Central Pennsylvania's Outstanding Teen 2013 Samantha Renck, Miss Greater Juniata Valley's Outstanding Teen 2013 Libby Hornstein, and Miss Freedom Forge's Outstanding Teen 2013 Madeleine Smith.
The Miss Pennsylvania Scholarship pageant will be held from June 11 to 14 in Pittsburgh. More information on the pageant can be found at www.misspa.org. Additional information and photographs from Saturday's pageant can be found online at www.misscentralpa.org.