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Aspiring Colorado Journalist Hilary Carol Cruz Crowned Miss Teen USA

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Aug. 25: Miss Teen Colorado Hilary Carol Cruz wins Miss Teen USA 2007 pageant in Pasadena, Calif. (AP)

An 18-year-old Colorado woman who aspires to become an entertainment journalist was crowned Miss Teen USA 2007 during a Friday night ceremony carried live on NBC-TV.

Miss Teen Colorado Hilary Carol Cruz received her crown from outgoing Miss Teen USA Katie Blair at the conclusion of the two-hour competition at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.

Blair's reign was marked by controversy last year when Mothers Against Drunk Driving announced it was severing its ties with the Miss Teen USA organization after news reports surfaced that the 18-year-old Billings, Mont., woman had been seen partying in New York City nightclubs with Miss USA Tara Conner.

Donald Trump, owner of the Miss Universe Organization that controls the Miss Teen USA and Miss USA pageants, allowed Conner to keep her crown after she was seen drinking in New York City bars when she was 20. Trump said at the time that Conner, a small-town girl, had been overwhelmed by New York City nightlife and deserved a second chance.

At Friday night's pageant contestants competed in swimsuit, evening gown and interview categories.

Cruz said that in five years she hopes to have earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and landed a job with a TV entertainment news program.

Judges for the pageant included Victoria's Secret model Selita Ebanks, actress Melissa Joan Hart, Miss Teen USA 2004 Shelley Hennig, actor Joey Lawrence and professional skateboarder Ryan Sheckler.

First runner-up in the competition was Miss New Jersey Teen USA Alyssa Campanella. The rest of the top five, in order, were Miss North Carolina Teen USA Kaitlin Coble, Miss South Carolina Teen USA Lauren Caitlin Upton and Miss West Virginia Teen USA Chelsea Welch.

Miss Maryland Teen USA Allison Farrow captured the photogenic award and Miss Mississippi Teen USA Anne Elise Parks won the congeniality award.