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Miss Georgia's Carly Mathis wins preliminary

From left are 2014 Miss America Competition preliminary winners Miss Georgia (lifestyle & fitness), Miss America 2013 Mallory Hagan, and Miss Florida 2013 Myrrhanda Jones (talent).

From left are 2014 Miss America Competition preliminary winners Miss Georgia (lifestyle & fitness), Miss America 2013 Mallory Hagan, and Miss Florida 2013 Myrrhanda Jones (talent).

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Thursday's preliminary lifestyle & fitness winner is Miss Georgia 2013 Carly Mathis in a white Miss America by Catalina swimsuit.

ATLANTIC CITY — Leesburg’s Carly Mathis is making a name for herself in Atlantic City — and it might just be Miss America 2014. The reigning Miss Georgia is at the Jersey shore this week preparing for her night in the spotlight Sunday at the Miss America Pageant.

Fifty-three contestants from the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are competing for a crown that only one will get get to wear.

Throughout the week, the contestants have been competing in preliminary competitions that will determine their fate as a potential finalist for Sunday night’s televised decision.

The women are divided into three groups for a series of competitions that also give them valuable practice time. Mathis’ “Alpha Group” comprises 18 competitors who have now completed their preliminary competitions for interview, talent, on-stage question, swimsuit and evening wear.

“I feel good about how the week is going so far,” Mathis said Wednesday in an interview with The Albany Herald. “The talent competition went well, and I just hope that I’m building up some points for myself.”

If this week is any indicator, it looks like she is.

On Thursday night, Mathis was announced as the preliminary winner for her group in the swimsuit competition, titled “Lifestyle and Fitness.” Besides earning valuable points for her total ranking, Mathis also earned a $1,000 scholarship.

In addition, Mathis was named as one of seven finalists for the Quality of Life Award, which is based on a contestant’s platform. Mathis’ platform is Heart Health & Heart Safety.

“Being named a finalist for that really means a lot to me,” Mathis said. “Heart health is something that’s very important to me, and it nice to know the judges recognize that.”

All contestants have now completed the preliminary competitions and are continuing rehearsals for the pageant. Today, the Miss America organization will stream the pageant’s annual “Pink & Pepper: Show Us Your Shoes Parade,” live at 5 p.m. on www.PHL17.com.

For more updates and photos from the week, visit the Miss America organization’s Facebook page or its website at www.missamerica.org.

The Miss America pageant airs live from Atlantic City Sunday at 9 p.m. on ABC.