Miss Hamden crowned Miss Connecticut at Garde Arts Center in New London

New London - Acacia Courtney was crowned Miss Connecticut 2014 during Saturday's competition at the Garde Arts Center.

Courtney, 21, representing Hamden, competed against 17 women from across the state. She will compete for the title of Miss America 2015 in Atlantic City, N.J., from Sept. 9-14.

Courtney was previously Miss Connecticut's Outstanding Teen 2009.

A college student majoring in communications with a concentration in journalism and a minor in theology, she is the founder and president of Racing for Home Inc., a nonprofit organization that rescues and retrains thoroughbred racehorses for new careers when their racing days are done.

She is also an advocate of small, easy-to-adopt changes that can result in major health improvements for people, according to the pageant.

Courtney, who performed ballet en pointe during the talent portion of competition, has studied at the Joffrey Ballet School and American Ballet Theatre and was a dancer in the opening number of the 2011 "Victoria's Secret Fashion Show" on CBS.

Cynthia Moura Dias, 14 of Wolcott, was also crowned Saturday as Miss Connecticut's Outstanding Teen. She will compete for the title of Miss America's Outstanding Teen in Orlando, Fla., from July 29 to Aug. 2.

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