LAS VEGAS | Katie Stam, of Indiana, was crowned Miss America on Saturday night fighting off a throat infection, laryngitis and 51 other contestants to win the 88-year-old pageant.
The 22-year-old University of Indianapolis student drew loud applause for her rendition of “Via Dolorosa” during the talent portion of the pageant at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
Among her supporters was Michigan City native Jan Mertl, who serves as director of the Miss Duneland pageant where Stam got her local start to go on to the national pageant, Duane Mertl said.
He said his wife, who has served as Miss Duneland pageant director for 19 years, had worked with Stam and had traveled to Las Vegas.
“She had worked with her. … I’m sure my wife is on Cloud Nine,” Duane Mertl said.