MerrieBeth Cox of Roselle, Ill., was crowned Miss Indiana 2012 on June 23 at the Zionsville High School Performing Arts Center.
Cox, who previously held the title of Miss Duneland, is 21 years old and is a student at Purdue University majoring in physical education. Her specialty is baton twirling, and she won a preliminary talent award earlier in the four-day competition for her twirling and gymnastics routine.
Cox’s platform is Overcoming Challenges, and she will represent Indiana at the Miss America Pageant in Las Vegas in January 2013.
First runner-up to Miss Indiana was Audra Casterline of Fishers. Mekayla Diehl, Brittany Smith and Megan Thwaites were the second, third and fourth runners-up, respectively.
The “Joy of Life” Award went to Mekayla Diehl, who was anonymously chosen based upon an essay; Megan Thwaites and Hannah Clingan received Outstanding Interview; Christine Borne won Non-Finalist Interview and Kathleen Raab won Non-Finalist Talent for her vocal rendition of Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro.”
The Children’s Miracle Network “Miracle Maker” Award was presented to Carolyne Holcomb; the John Price Community Service Award went to Rebecca Kain; the Hoosier Leadership Award went to Alyssa Slater, and the Arts in Action Dance Award went to Cox. Katelyn Marak received the Newcomer Award.
The Miss America Academic Award went to Kristin Music of Brownsburg and the Miss America Community Service Award went to Paige Conrad. Carolyne Holcomb was named Miss Congeniality.
A record-breaking 32 young women competed in two preliminary nights during the event. Talent, lifestyle and fitness in swimwear, evening wear and the answer to an onstage question were the judgment criteria, in addition to a 10-minute private interview with judges.