The aesthetic athletic

Some Scots just stand out.

Last semester, freshman Samantha Whitley Perry shocked her parents, the student body and possibly most of Maryville by joining the Fighting Scots football team here at Maryville College.

Queen of the gridiron? Well, yes of course; but, as some may well know, Perry is also the current holder of 2013’s Miss Teen East Tennessee title.

In early March of this year, Perry posted a picture on Facebook of her holding roses, a sash and wearing a shiny new crown on her head. She was also sporting a red dress that just seemed a bit out of character for the athletic lady kicker. As it turns out, she has shocked us all again by taking first place in Miss Teen East Tennessee.    “I have been doing this since I was about four-years-old,” Perry said. “My mom and my grandmother got me involved. I should know by the end of the week about Miss East Tennessee and whether or not I am a finalist for that one as well.”

With such extensive experience in the beauty pageant world, it begs the question of how Perry ever decided to get involved in football.

“Being on the football team is a far greater accomplishment for me personally than any beauty pageant ever could be,” Perry said. “The upside to winning these pageants is that when you win, you get the opportunity to do a lot of community service work and meet a ton of new people. I love that part. It is my reason for being involved in it. I mean, any girl can do pageants. It was cool to win it though. At first, I made the top 10 and thought I wouldn’t go any further. Then, it was the top five. Then, before I knew it, I was standing there with two other girls, and then out of nowhere I won the thing so I was pretty surprised too,” Perry said.

So what makes her different from other beauty queens? Well, aside from the fact that she plays college football

“I think that being on the football team gave me more confidence on stage,” Perry said. “It’s funny because I am a football player first before a pageant girl, so while all the contestants were standing around eating fruits, vegetables and diet bars, I sent my mom out to get me McDonalds. I need carbs. I got a lot of dirty looks from that one,” Perry said.

You see it all the time, some beautiful woman getting sashed on stage in front of hundreds of people just balling her eyes out, thanking God and the world for all the love and support or votes or whatever. So what about our kicker? Tears?

“I think I cry more over football than anything else,” Perry said.  “I get so frustrated at close games I want to just scream. I have won three other medals for pageants, one for FCCLA, 3 silver medals at state level and one gold medal, which was also at state level, but nothing tugs at my heart like the game.”

The pressure we all feel as students is sometimes overwhelming. As a writing/communications major, Perry stands to have more and more stress and less and less time in her life here in the next few semesters.

“I don’t even think my coaches knew that I did this. I don’t think people should be told that they have limits to what they can do. I was always told by my own parents that I could do whatever I wanted to do. I take that pretty far and I have been shocking my parents for a long time now,” Perry said.

What’s next for Perry? Is the football team ready to see their kicker in the Miss America pageant? I guess time will tell.

“Pure American Girl is in May, and Miss Tennessee is in October. I will be there if I can be,” Perry said.

One thing is clear. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder ,but there is no substitute for fearlessness. Perry sports the championship ring from conference just like any other football player, but she is the only one with crown on her head, too.

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