Thursday, July 19, 2012

The majority of Fairmont State University's student-athletes will spend their summer breaks doing the same thing – training and working hard to hone their respective skills in their chosen sport in preparation for next season.

Sophomore-to-be Angela Viscount is no different. A native of Newark, Del., and a member of the Falcons' acrobatics and tumbling team, Viscount will undoubtedly spend countless hours over the course of the next few months in the gym working on her tumbling and strength training.

However, this summer, the highly competitive Viscount has a competition of a different sort for which she's also preparing. And it's one in which no other FSU student-athlete will take part in – at least not this year.

On Saturday, July 28 at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas Viscount, who was crowned Miss Delaware Teen USA on Nov. 27, will vie for the title of Miss Teen USA.

“It's an absolutely amazing opportunity for me,” said Viscount. “Obviously I'm very excited about it and am really looking forward to it, but I'm also starting to get a little nervous because I know it's only a few months away and that time is going to go very fast.”

Viscount, who is also scheduled to attend the Miss USA Pageant this summer on June 3 in Las Vegas to cheer on Miss Delaware Krista Clausen, is a relative newcomer in the world of beauty pageants. She's only competed in two and both were the Miss Delaware Teen Pageants where she finished as the first runner-up in 2011 and as the winner this past fall.

“I didn't grow up being a pageant girl,” she said with a laugh. “I was a cheerleader and a gymnast. We had a dance team at my high school and one of the dance team coaches was Vincenza Carrieri-Russo, who was Miss Delaware 2008, and she approached me and told me, 'You should do pageants I think you'd do great in them.' At first I was kind of hesitant. I was like, 'No way that's not me,' and my mom was absolutely against it. The more I thought about it the more I wanted to at least give it a try and see what it was like. After pleading and practically begging my mom finally gave in and allowed me to try one.

“The first pageant I ever entered was the Miss Delaware Teen Pageant in 2011 when I was a senior in high school and I honestly had no idea what I was getting into or for that matter doing. Vincenza, though, coached me and worked with me and I finished as the first runner-up. To be honest I was a little disappointed and sad. I wanted to win it.”

When it came time to enter the 2012 Miss Delaware Teen Pageant, Viscount wasn't sure until the last minute whether or not she was going to compete.

“I really was unsure if I was going to do it again or not,” she said. “I knew I was going to be here at Fairmont State and competing with the acrobatics and tumbling team. I was only going to be home for one week which was the week of Thanksgiving when the pageant is held. At the last minute I thought I'd give it one more try and as it turned out I won, which I have to admit was like a dream come true for me.

“It's hard to describe the feeling. The first runner-up was Holt Querey, who is a senior at Padua Academy where I went to high school, and we're great friends. I remember looking at her when it was just the two of us up front on the stage and saying no matter what happens we'll still be the best of friends. I also remember thinking 'Oh my goodness I was first runner-up last year. I really don't want that to happen again.' When they called my name I kind of freaked out. I looked at my parents and my dad was screaming. That was kind of funny. I cried a little, but more than anything I was just really excited to have this opportunity.”

Viscount's parents, Tom and Maria, have instilled in their daughter a strong set of values and morals and an excellent work ethic. They enrolled her in gymnastics at the age of three and from age seven to 11 she was a member of an all-star competitive cheer squad. From the sixth grade through the eighth grade she was a member of the middle school, traditional cheerleading squad.

She attended high school at the prestigious Padua Academy – an all-girls Catholic High School in Wilmington, Del. That school did not offer cheerleading, so she once again she turned to the all-star competitive cheering group during her high school years.

When it came time to choose a college she first had her heart set on attending the University of Maryland, but when that didn't work out her mother found Fairmont State University via the internet thanks to the school's acrobatics and tumbling team and suggested Angela look into it.

“I actually made about three visits here, including one official visit thanks to our coach Kristi Kiefer who wanted me to spend a weekend with the girls on the team,” said Viscount. “I absolutely fell in love with the place. I come from a small, all-girls high school and the size of the school and classes here are perfect. I'm so happy with my decision to come here and the chance to compete as a member of the acrobatics and tumbling team. I knew it was going to be a lot tougher than the competitive cheering I was doing during high school, and it is, but I love it. We compete against Division I schools and the girls on the squad all have a very close bond with one another. I'm very thankful to be in a great situation here.”

Viscount is majoring in fashion merchandise. After graduation her goal is to work in the fashion industry as a buyer for a major retail organization.

To help Viscount secure a place in the semifinals during Miss Teen USA  on July 27, vote today here.

Duane Cochran is a contributing writer for fightingfalcons.com and maroon&white. Special thanks to photographer Paul Pruitt for use of photos.