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Justine Barker of Pembroke Wears Miss Winnipesaukee Crown

Originally published in the Weirs Times. Written by Roger Amsden/News Correspondent

Justine Barker
GILFORD - A 19-year-old award-winning soccer player from Pembroke was crowned as Miss Winnipesaukee Saturday night at the Gunstock Ski Area.

Justine Barker, who will be a sophomore at New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord this fall, was chosen from a field of 12 contestants in the state's oldest pageant, which dates back to 1925.

Barker, who says that soccer is her "true love'', performed an acrobatic jazz dance as her talent presentation. She was twice named to All-State soccer team while attending Pembroke Academy, where she graduated in 2003. She also lettered in four varsity sports and was captain of the cheerleading team which twice won Class I honors.

An education major, Barker says that her goal is to become a teacher at the middle school level. Her platform stresses high school dropout prevention.

Justine, who was the founder of the Pembroke Academy Dance team, said that she has been inspired by her high school soccer coach and her dance teacher, as well as her mother.

In addition to winning a $4,500 scholarship, Barker earns another trip to Miss New Hampshire Pageant, where she was the third runner-up this year competing as Miss Lakes Region.

Justine Barker Miss Winnipesaukee 2004

Justine Barker crowned Miss Winnipesaukee 2004.

She was crowned by Lauryl Trenholme-Phil, 19, of Amherst, the 2003 Miss Winnipesaukee.

First runner-up was Jennifer Jill Saucier of Derry, who attends Springfield College.

Second runner-up was Kyle Polichronopoulos of Nashua, who competed in this year's Miss New Hampshire contest as Miss Nashua.

Third runner-up was Krytsal M. Barry, 19, of Belmont, who attends the University of New Hampshire where she is a dance-theater performance major. An honors graduate of Belmont High School, she was also the Class M women's pole vault champion in 2003.

Trenholme-Pihl, a sophomore at Wagner College in New York City where she is a theater performance major, said that she has had an unforgettable year as Miss Winnipesaukee and paid tribute to pageant co-directors Gary Vincent and Tina Gebhard for their encouragement and understanding in arranging her public appearances during her reign.

She said that Gebhard had helped her realize that she was a role model for young people and that Vincent had taught her "the power of the crown.''

"Get ready for a wonderful year. It will change your life,'' she told the contestants as she ended her reign as Miss Winnipesaukee.

Also on hand for the pageant was Miss New Hampshire 2004, Alyssa Spellman, who won the Miss Winnipesaukee Pageant in 2001. She is a student at Emerson College in Boston and will represent New Hampshire in the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City in September.

She accepted checks for $150 and $380 from Vincent for her favorite charity and sang during a musical interlude near the end of the program while auditors Shirley Gammon and Steve Doody tallyed up the votes by the judges.

The Miss Winnipesaukee Pageant, which was started by legendary promoter Jim Irwin, was first held in 1925. It was held at Irwin's Winnipesaukee Gardens until 1968 and has been sponsored by the Funspot Family Entertainment Center since 1969.