COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A University of South Carolina sophomore has been crowned Miss Teen United States.
"Whenever they called my name it was just very surreal," said Erika Cline. "I was so happy, and for my loved ones to be there with me at such an important and special part of my life, it was such a blessing. I was so happy."
In addition to the crown and sash, Cline also was chosen as Miss Congeniality by her fellow contestants.
"That was, honestly, such an honor," she said. "For them to choose me and to think of me as a congenial and friendly person, it was just--it warmed my heart, it was such an honor."
The coincidence may involve a little fate. Cline's good friend and two-time prom date, Austin Branham, had the Lugoff-Elgin High School Mr. Congeniality award named after him in June.
"His mom told hem whenever I won, she told him I was Miss Congeniality and he asked her, 'Does that make us Mr. and Miss Congeniality?'" Cline said. "So I thought that was so sweet, and you know, it really touched my heart."
Cline is a graduate of Lugoff-Elgin High School. She is studying broadcast journalism at USC.
Having an older brother in the military, her platform was veterans appreciation. She is fairly new to the pageant world. She's been involved in pageants for about a year-and-a-half.
"As long as I'm having a good time and I make friends, its all about the experience, and that's what I was really going for," she said. "Of course, everybody wants to win, but I was just having a positive attitude, looking at the bright side of things, you know. Whatever happens, happens."
Cline credits her coach, Cyrus Frakes-King, with her success.
"I wouldn't be where I am today without him," she said. "I owe it all to him."
In just two weeks after her crowning, Cline has been to Miami, Atlanta and Las Vegas.
"It's been very busy for me, but I'm enjoying it," she said. "It's such a wonderful ride for me.
Chapin resident K. Lee Graham was recently crowned Miss Teen USA. Good News is planning an article with Graham next week.