BY VELMA SOUTHERLAND
Sarah Stokely took the Miss Greene County crown to new heights this weekend as she participated in The National Sweetheart Pageant, held annually in Hoopeston, Ill.
Sunday evening, during the finale of the event, Stokely was named first a Top 15 semi-finalist, then a Top 10 finalist. There her climb stopped.
Stokely is the first reigning Miss Greene County to qualify to participate in this pageant sponsored by the Hoopeston Jaycees for the first-runners-up of the state competitions that are preliminaries of the Miss America Scholarship Pageant.
Miss California Jordan Krinke was crowned this year's Miss National Sweetheart, according to the website of the The Chronicle, a weekly newspaper in Hoopeston.
Stokely was named first runner-up in June at the Miss Tennessee Scholarship Pageant in Jackson.
While Stokely is the first Miss Greene County to compete in the national pageant, Miss Greene County 2009, Brooke Waddell (now Pancratz), has also competed, but was wearing the Miss Watauga Valley 2008 crown at the time.
At the Sweetheart pageant, Pancratz was a Top 10 finalist and a preliminary swimsuit winner as well as being selected Miss Congenialty by the other contestants.
When a new Miss Greene County is crowned later this year, the organization will be selecting two young women -- Miss Greene County and Miss Greater Greeneville -- to compete at the Miss Tennessee pageant.
The title of Miss Greater Greeneville has been added for the first time this year.
Terri Lamons' is director of the pageant.
Two teen titles are also crowned annually during the Miss Greene County pageant.