College Dance Team Central

Friday, January 01, 2010

Akron Dancer is Miss Ohio Teen USA

Green resident new Miss Ohio Teen USA
By Kathleen Folkerth

GREEN — Bridget Linton is no stranger to competition.

The Green resident, who has competed internationally as an Irish dancer and now is on The University of Akron (UA) Dance Team, was crowned Miss Ohio Teen USA in October and will represent the state in national competition next summer.

Linton said she competed against more than 60 Ohio girls in the state pageant, which took place in Portsmouth.

“It didn’t really hit me until the next day that I won,” she said.

All the contestants competed in swimsuit and evening gown rounds Oct. 9. The following day, the contestants went through a round of interviews with judges, and then the field was narrowed to 15.

During the final day of competition Oct. 10, the semi-finalists competed again in swimsuit and evening gown competition before five finalists were announced. The five were asked a random question, with Linton’s being about what life lessons are learned through athletics or competition.

Linton said she had no idea the question would be about something she is so familiar with. She has been an Irish dancer since the age of 4 and has competed in the United States as well as in Ireland and Scotland, she said.

Her background as a competitive dancer helped contribute to her success at the pageant, she said.

“It taught me what hard work means,” she said. “You really have to work to be successful, so I learned I have that competition feeling inside me. It also taught me the poise and elegance you are supposed to have.”

Linton is the daughter of Kathie and Darrell Linton, a Green Middle School science teacher and track coach, and a 2009 graduate of Green High School. She is a freshman at UA and is majoring in broadcast journalism.

It wasn’t until this past year that Linton explored the world of pageants. She participated in the Queen Pageant at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton last spring and loved the experience.

“I was one of the princesses, and I got to escort (Hall of Fame inductee) Bruce Smith into the ceremony,” she said.

She looked into other pageants and found out about the Miss Ohio Teen USA program, which is a stepping stone to the Miss Teen USA pageant.

“I thought, I could do this,” she said. “It seemed like a great experience.”

She submitted an application and was named Miss Uniontown for the competition. To prepare, she worked out to stay in shape and also practiced possible interview questions with her mother, she said.

While she’s pleased with the outcome, it wasn’t all about winning, Linton stressed.

“Mainly I was just going in to have fun,” she said. “But it turned out in my favor.”

After the first of the year, Linton will begin to prepare in earnest for the national competition, which will take place at the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas in late July or early August. The pageant has been televised in recent years, but Linton said the decision as to whether this year’s event will be telecast has not been decided, which is why the date is not definite yet.

The pageant provides Linton with training and transportation. She does have some required appearances around the state in 2010, and she said she’s looking forward to that.

“One thing I want to do is travel to different schools to promote pageants and tell younger kids to have self-confidence and stay true to themselves,” she said.

Linton said she is taking the year off from Irish dance competition because of the pageant, but she is working as an Irish dance instructor for the O’Hare School of Irish Dance.

“It was hard balancing both of them,” Linton said. “I decided I will take one thing at a time.”

With the UA Dance Team, Linton performs at every UA men’s and women’s basketball game. The Dance Team also is preparing for national competition this spring.

She said the pageant officials will work with her and her school schedule.

“I’m keeping busy,” she said.

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