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Two contestants garner Thursday night Miss Ohio preliminary talent, fitness awards



Two contestants garner Thursday night Miss Ohio preliminary talent, fitness awards

Miss Shawnee Stephanie Finoti, 21, of Columbus, was named the Thursday night preliminary talent winner at the Miss Ohio Scholarship Program at the Renaissance Theatre for her ballet performance from “Don Quixote.”Miss Greater Cleveland Lucabella LaEace, 20, of Cincinnati, took home the health and fitness preliminary award during the first night of preliminary competition on the Miss Ohio stage.

Friday night, two Miss Ohio contestants will again be chosen as preliminary talent and health/fitness winners.

Stephanie Finoti

Finoti is majoring in biomedical science and public health at the University of Cincinnati and her platform or community service initiative is “That STEM Girl: How mentorship drives diversity in medicine.” She made her second trip to the Miss Ohio stage this year. She plans to continue her education at medical school and become a pediatrician and focus on the care of premature babies.

She began dancing at age 2 because she could not walk straight as she was bow-legged, she said during an interview after the Miss Ohio show.

She said there is just something about the discipline in ballet that speaks to her. She also loves classical music.

“I feel very, very grateful for this award,” she said. “Five years ago I had a career-ending injury and I didn’t think I was going to be able to dance again until last year when I decided to come to Miss Ohio for the first time. … And a year later, here I am, showing my talent on the Miss Ohio stage and winning the talent award. It means the world to have been able to regain my gift and my strength.”

Saying she is Latino, Finoti said she loves bringing her culture on stage and the ballet number shows her personality.

More: Miss Lake Festival’s Teen Allie Gray, of Celina, wins Miss Ohio’s Teen on first try

Lucabella LaEace

LaEace, 20, a nursing student at Thomas More University in Crestview Hills, Kentucky, said she was grateful to receive the health and fitness award because fitness is a big part of her life.

“I have early-morning clinicals, late-night studying, but you have to make time to work out. I have a personal trainer and I also teach fitness classes with her,” LaEace said.

Her community service initiative is “Let’s talk; Let’s listen: Ending the silence surrounding suicide.”

It was a night of music, songs and dance numbers on the Miss Ohio stage.

Reigning Miss Ohio Madison Miller, who will give up her title Saturday night when a new Miss Ohio is crowned, joined featured vocalists for musical stage productions. Little Miss Buckeyes also danced on stage during a fun-filled night of music with Miss Ohio’s Teens contestants. A crowd-pleaser was a musical number including hits such as “The Last Dance” and “We Are Family” showcasing local talents Jody Odom Jr. and Deon J. Taylor, among others.

Miss Ohio contestants are judged in health and fitness, 20%; talent, 20%; private interview, 30%; evening gown, 20%; and on stage conversation, 10%.

Miss Ohio contestants take home awards

Miss Ohio contestants took home scholarship awards for writing Americanism essays, community service essays and awards they won from the annual Miss Ohio camping outing this spring. Miss Rock & Roll City Grace Riegel, of Mansfield, was awarded the Spirit of the Pines Award, given to the best camper.

Americanism awards went to Miss Heart of Ohio Marina DeNunzio, 21, of Shaker Heights, and Miss Clayland Brittney Putman, 21, of Grove City. Community Service Awards were given to Miss Northern Ohio Caitlin Seifert, 25, of Niles, and Miss Gem City Diamond Coleman, 27, of Dayton.

More Miss Ohio shows yet this week

Twenty-seven contestants are vying for the Miss Ohio crown.

The second night of Miss Ohio preliminary competition at the Miss Ohio stage begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Preshow begins at 7:05 p.m.

On Saturday, it’s the Miss Ohio finals and a new Miss Ohio will be crowned. The show begins at 7:30 p.m., preshow at 7:05 p.m. The winner will receive a $10,000 scholarship and the opportunity to compete at Miss America. Miss Ohio Executive Director Steven Oliveri said $52,100 in scholarships will be awarded at Miss Ohio. Ten semifinalists will be selected plus one lucky contestant will be the People’s Choice winner, becoming the 11th semifinalist.


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