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Miss Puerto Rico Mariselle Morales

KNOXVILLE — Mariselle Morales, a 2008 graduate from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will be competing in the Miss America pageant as Miss Puerto Rico on Saturday.

Morales won the Miss America Puerto Rico pageant in July 2010.

“I’m extremely excited,” she said. “I never thought I’d be competing for Miss America, and the first time I tried, I won.”

Morales grew up in South Florida and loved to swim, so she began to follow UT’s women’s swim team. When she came to Knoxville to visit the university during her senior year of high school, she knew that UT was where she wanted to go.

“It was the only school I applied to,” she said. “I had an amazing time, and I absolutely loved it.”

Morales got her bachelor’s degree in political science, and although she was not on the UT swimming team, she worked as a lifeguard at TRECS. She is now living in San Juan, Puerto Rico, working as a professional model, pursuing a record deal and devoting her time to representing the Miss America organization. She has plans to attend the Music Conservatory of Puerto Rico to earn a graduate degree.

As the only UT graduate in the 2011 Miss America lineup, she’s determined to show her support for the Vols. Morales said that the show is asking contestants to bring T-shirts from their colleges and universities to wear for part of the show. She plans on bringing as many shirts as possible.

“I want to be decked out in orange,” she said.

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely, (865-974-5034,