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MARION - Miss Windy City Hannah Smith of Huntley could not fight back the tears when she was announced the 2011 Miss Illinois.

The crowning of Miss Illinois was the end of the four-day pageant at Marion Cultural and Civic Center. Smith will repre-sent Illinois in the Miss America pageant in January 2012. She succeeds Whitney Thorpe-Klinsky.

Contestants competed in talent, lifestyle and fitness sportswear, evening gown and interview categories.

The contestants were narrowed down to 10 with Smith, Miss Williamson Emily Travis, Miss Chicago Erika Uhlig, Miss Cook County April Strong, Miss Northern Suburbs Natalie Renee Sherer, Miss Macomb Megan Ervin, Miss Illinois Valley Ju Taune Bosby, Miss South-ern Illinois Samantha Constantine, Miss River to River Kaitlyn Millner and Miss Southern Sweetheart Ruthi Brooks.

Smith, Uhlig, Strong, Ervin and Bosby were the top five. Strong finished fourth runner-up, Uhlig was third runner-up, Bosby was second runner-up and Ervin finished first runner-up.

Miss Illinois Outstanding Teen and Miss Illinois Outstanding Pre-Teen were announced Friday with Summer Robbins and Kayla Sallenger taking the titles respectively.

Thorpe-Klinsky, who received several standing ovations throughout the program, said she felt blessed to be Miss Illinois for a year. Duties include making appearances and supporting their platform. Smith's is "Mentoring Young Girls Regarding Body Image."

Marion Cultural and Civic Center was packed for the final night of the event. Amalia Schwerdtmann, board chairman of the Miss Illinois Scholarship Association thanked Marion and the rest of the region for the "wonderful and hospitable atmosphere in Marion."



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