Miss Vermont 2016 is Rylee Field

It was her last opportunity to win a state title, but Montpelier native Rylee Field made the most of it, as she captured the Miss Vermont crown on May 27, at the Barre Opera House in Barre.

Field, 24, would age out of the Miss America system this year. She competed for the title previously, including in 2013. She also competed and finished as 2nd runner-up at the Miss New Hampshire 2014 competition.

Perseverance, she said, is what it takes to be a titleholder in the MAO system.

“I think any pageant girl who has competed more than once will tell you it’s all about tenacity. It’s all about staying determined and focused on the main goal, year after year,” she said.

Field said she was “a little terrified” just before her name was announced, because it was her final year of eligibility, but then an flurry of emotions happened when she was called.

“I could not have been more thrilled, more blind-sided, more confused and so excited,” she said.

Just moments after her crowning, she joked that it really hadn’t yet sunk in that she’ll be competing for the Miss America title.

“I don’t quite know what that means yet,” she said. “’I’m going to see the ocean in September’ is kind of where I’m at right now.”

Meanwhile, Field has plans in the Green Mountain State.

“I want to be the best Miss Vermont I can be,” she said. “I want to get out there, and meet the people like I have met the last four years of being in this program. Vermont does wonderful things with the Big Change Roundup and the UVM Children’s Hospital. I can’t wait to be part of that.”

With a platform called “Find a Happy Place – Positive Mental Health and Wellness,” Field said she plans to work with PEAR: People Education Addiction Recovery, which just happens to be based in the same building as her job at the Capitol Plaza Hotel.

“I can’t wait to walk in there and say, ‘Hey, I’m Miss Vermont. Let’s get to work!” she said.

Field is a graduate of Colby-Sawyer College and performed a spoken word poetry monologue for her talent.

At the same pageant, Miss Vermont’s Outstanding Teen was crowned, with the crown going to 15-year-old Alexandra Diehl, from St. Albans. Diehl attends Rice Memorial High School, and performed a crowd-pleasing contemporary pointe ballet to “Eye of the Tiger.”

“It was ‘Oh my goodness! Is this me, is this really me?’” Diehl said, describing the moment her name was announced as the winner. “I am so thrilled. What is this year going to bring me?”

Diehl’s platform is called Y. E. S. S! (Youths Exercising for Strength and Success).

“It’s all about kids learning to have fun and be fit for life,” she said, adding that it’s something she’s already been promoting. “I already do community service for fitness groups, about three times a week. I hope to expand it to reach more children in more places and do what I’m doing, on a larger scale.”

About competing for the title of Miss America’s Outstanding Teen, she said she can’t wait to go to Florida in August, even though it will be hot, and meet all of the other contestants.

“I’m super excited,” she said. “I’m ready to get down there and have some fun.”

Diehl also wants to change perceptions about pageants.

“I want to make my mark, and let people know that pageantry is not what it seems,” she said. “Pageant girls are not just pretty faces. We also have brains and we have hearts.”

For more photos, visit Steve Smith Photography on Facebook.

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