Former Miss Douglas County takes state by storm
In order to pursue her dream of one state crown, Douglas High senior Alicia Sturgess had to abandon her pursuit of another.
Sturgess, who won the Miss Douglas County pageant in March, qualified for three events in last weekend’s Nevada State 4A Track & Field Championships at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas.
It’s an achievement she strived for through her last four years on the varsity track team.
There was only one catch.
She discovered recently that the required three-day orientation for the Miss Nevada competition would be the same weekend in Reno.
Something simply had to give.
What it came down to was that Sturgess couldn’t desert her 4×400 relay teammates, with whom she’d won a regional title last year.
“I am so close with this relay team and I refused to let them down,” Sturgess said. “I felt it was more important to represent Douglas County with dependability than to let my teammates down for an individual event.
“I worked for four years to get to this meet, and I got there last year. We were hoping to improve on our finish from last year.”
Having relinquished the Miss Douglas County crown, she proceeded to score nearly all of Douglas’ 11 points at the meet, giving the Tigers a tie for 23rd overall.
Along the way, she took fourth in the 800, running a personal best of 2 minutes, 20.99 seconds, and took fifth in the high jump.
She helped the 4×400 team of Skylar Young, Nicole Mehrer and Jessica Gorton to a seventh place finish with a time of 4:08.85.
Her time in the 800 fell just a half-second short of the school record.
“I was running for that school record and I got really close,” she said. “It was such a good meet. It was fun not only cheering on our teammates but watching all the kids from the north and pulling for them.
“I didn’t get near as nervous as I thought it would be. It was a huge meet and it was a lot of fun.”
Douglas head coach Rick Brown applauded Sturgess’ decision.
“It was a huge personal sacrifice for her,” Brown said. “She went through a lot of soul-searching to make that decision.
“Making it to state is something that these kids come into the program aspiring to achieve. It’s sad when something gets in the way of your goals that you really have no control over.
“She had a wonderful weekend and it’ll be something that all of those kids will remember.”
The orientation for Miss Nevada was three days worth of meetings with producers, make-up artists, hair dressers, public relations representatives and the like in order to prepare the state’s 10 finalists for the competition, which is scheduled for July 9 through 14.
“It’s a pretty intense weekend,” said Adriana McEntire, the executive director of the Miss Douglas County competition. “There would have been no way to relate all the information presented to her after the fact.
McEntire said she admired Sturgess’ loyalty to her teammates.
“She was exceptional throughout the Miss Douglas County pageant,” McEntire said. “She proved that to us again in the way she handled this.
“It was unfortunate the way it ended up. We put it very candidly in that you can’t be two places at once. We’re so happy for her and how well she did at the meet and she’s more than welcome to come and compete for Miss Douglas again next year.”
In the meantime, Christina Swartz, who was the Miss Douglas County runner-up, will assume the crown.
“When I got the call, my jaw kind of dropped,” Swartz said. “I had just kind of put the whole thing behind me, but I was so surprised.
“It was a little different, trying to shift back into pageant mode all of the sudden. I had a trip to Hawaii planned for the same week as Miss Nevada, but I called it off. I was just so excited for the opportunity.”
Swartz made her first appearance as Miss Douglas County Tuesday night speaking at the Jacks Valley Elementary School DARE graduation.
Swartz will be attending the University of Nevada, Reno next year and plans to major in marketing. Ultimately, she hopes to be a wedding planner.
“This whole thing is new to me, but I am so pleased to be able to represent the county both in the Miss Nevada competition and out in the community.”
McEntire said Swartz is available for public appearances and community service throughout the year. McEntire can be reached at email@example.com or (775) 450-1361.
“Right now, we’re looking for opportunities to get involved in community service projects in the area,” McEntire said.
Sturgess said she wishes Swartz, and Miss Carson Valley Julie Jones, the best in the competition.
“They’re both good friends of mine and I wish them both the best of luck,” Sturgess said.
Sturgess is tentatively planning to attend BYU-Idaho next fall, but has received an invitation to walk on to the track team at BYU in Provo, Utah.
She is also the student body vice president at Douglas and is active with Block D.
“I really fought to keep my crown, I loved this honor,” Sturgess said. “I got to speak at a DARE graduation last week and I loved it. I was so sad to turn my crown in.
“It was such an honor to represent Douglas County. I love this place. I’ve lived here since the third grade.”
— Joey Crandall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (775) 782-5121, ext. 212.