By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated March 04, 2002 11:28 AM

Howard University student Shauntay Hinton, 23, was crowned Miss USA 2002 on Friday, reports PEOPLE. In a pageant that celebrated patriotism as much as beauty, Hinton, who represented the District of Columbia, charmed the judges and a cheerful, flag-waving crowd at the Genesis Convention Center in Gary, Ind. Hinton wept and her knees buckled when her victory was announced. “I was up against some very beautiful women, bright and talented,” Hinton, a broadcast communications major with a minor in business administration, told PEOPLE after she was crowned. “This is truly an honor. This is surreal. I’m not here yet. When I wake up in the morning, I think it will dawn on me.” Miss Kansas, Lindsay Douglas, was named first runner-up, but it was second runner-up, Miss Indiana, Kelly Lloyd (who lives in Indianapolis), who drew the most boisterous cheers throughout the pageant. “There’s no better feeling,” Lloyd said of competing so close to home. “I had a lot of friends and family members travel here and just to hear them, along with a sea of strangers that offered their support, was just a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” Co-hosted by former NFL and Major League Baseball star Deion Sanders and actress-“Spy TV” host Ali Landry, the pageant opened with a parade of contestants all dressed in red, white, and blue. The all-American theme continued into the swimsuit competition with the women donning red suits decorated with stars and stripes. Michael Bolton, country singer Sara Evans and R&B vocalist Joe performed, and judges included Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Jermaine Jackson, singer Willa Ford, and Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Audrey Quock. Peter Jennings and Donald Trump were among the celebrities in the audience.