Two women new to the pageant experience walked away Sunday night with the Miss Kansas USA and Miss Kansas Teen USA titles.
The pageant was at the Lied Center at Kansas University.
Michelle Gillespie, 21, of Mission Hills, competed as Miss Kansas City and walked away with the Miss Kansas USA 2008 title. Jessie Colonna, 16, of Leawood, earned the Miss Kansas Teen USA 2008 title and was competing as Miss Leawood.
"I was freaking out," said Colonna, a junior at St. Thomas Aquinas High School. "I didn't know what to do."
Colonna said though she had never competed in a pageant, her school friends convinced her she should try it.
Despite the fact that both winners had no prior experience competing in a pageant, Colonna said she didn't think that her being a first-time competitor had any impact on her winning the competition.
"I've only had one pageant practice class, but I don't think being new gave me an advantage over the other, more experienced girls," she said.
Gillespie, a senior at Southern Methodist University, said she'd only decided to enter the competition this summer. Nonetheless, she said, competing in a pageant is something she's wanted to do for "about 10 years now."
"Once I found out that my great-great-aunt was the first Miss America, I knew this was something I had to do," she said. "It's in my blood."
Both Gillespie and Colonna had to compete in three sessions in order to win their crown: evening gown, swimsuit and interview.
As part of the interview, Gillespie said she thought it was a bad idea that New York University invited Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran, to its campus to speak.
"All it did was rile up Americans, and I'm not sure it was necessary," she said.
Gillespie and Colonna now will advance to their respective Miss USA competitions. The Miss USA 2008 competition will take place April 11 in Las Vegas and will be televised by NBC. The date for the Miss Teen USA 2008 competition was not immediately available Sunday night, though it is expected it will take place shortly before the Miss USA competition.
The winner of the Miss USA competition is eligible to advance to the Miss Universe competition in July in Vietnam.