Howland native wins Miss Ohio 2013 pageant - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Howland native wins Miss Ohio 2013 pageant

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MANSFIELD, Ohio - A Howland native has won the 2013 Miss Ohio pageant.

Heather Wells was crowned Saturday in Mansfield and the timing could not be any more perfect for the 23-year-old contestant. After competing for five years, since she was 17, this was her last shot for the title under the pageant's age guidelines.

For the first three years Wells said she competed just for the enjoyment of the competition but started to push harder as time went on.

"When I turned 21, I decided it was time to really try," Wells said.

After losing out last year, despite winning the swimsuit competition, she redirected her focus.

This year was different. Wells not only won the swimsuit competition again, but virtually all of the others as well. A competitive dancer, Wells won the talent competition with an originally choreographed act and also won, in her opinion, the toughest portion of all: the interview.

"They can ask you anything," Wells said. "They want to know about yourself, your history and what you believe in."

Wells, a graduate of Kent State University, took up a platform for divorce counseling for youths, an issue she personally connected with after her parents divorced when she was two-years-old.

"The children tend to blame it on themselves, which they shouldn't do," Wells said. "It's never their fault."

With a number of competition portions already under the belt, Wells was optimistic but was not completely certain. It wasn't until she found herself still on the stage as the runner-ups were called, when her name was announced and the spotlight moved to her, that reality struck.

"I was weak in the knees," Wells said. "People thought I was going to pass out."

Wells is still in Mansfield working on paperwork to finish for her eligibility for Miss America 2013 in September but plans to come back home next week. Once she's home, Wells will begin preparing again for the biggest competition of her life.

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