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Ceres teen Ortiz among 11 singing contest finalists
Stephanie Ortiz
Ceres resident Stephanie Ortiz was successful in becoming a finalist in her audition video. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Stephanie Ortiz, 17, of Ceres is among 11 talented young singers who have been selected as finalists in the contest to sing the national anthem at the Foster Farms Bowl.

Finalists will face off at a live audition where a panel of judges, including football legend and former 49ers wide receiver Dwight Clark, Fox Sports' lead college football analyst Joel Klatt and 49ers VP Robert Alberino, Jr., will determine the winner. The live audition was held from 1 p.m. to 3p.m. on Monday, Dec. 12 at the Hotel Nikko in San Francisco.

Eleven finalists were chosen among Bay Area and Central Valley youth who submitted audition videos via YouTube.

Besides Ortiz, the finalists are: Ella Almares, 14, of Pittsburg; Felisha Dias, 16, of Turlock; Ryann Barnes, 12, of Menlo Park; Maria Carrillo High School Jazz Choir of Santa Rosa; Kimiko Burk, 16, of Walnut Creek; Janelle Feraro, 11, and Jamil Pidlaoan, 16, both of Daly City; Gavin Heraldo, 11, of Milpitas; Kristen Champlin, 14, of San Jose; and Ayushi Prusty, 16, of Fremont.

"I'm blown away by the level of talent from these young singers and can't wait to hear them in person at the live audition next week," said Clark. "No matter what level you're playing in - high school, college or professional - the singing of the national anthem before a football game is a time-honored tradition for players and fans."

The winner will sing the national anthem in front of thousands of college football fans at the 2016 Foster Farms Bowl, just before kickoff at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 28 in Santa Clara. The game will air live on FOX broadcast network and will feature the Indiana Hoosiers against the Utah Utes.

As part of the Foster Farm Bowl's longstanding commitment to fighting hunger, Foster Farms will donate 1,000 meals to the food bank of the winner's choice in their name. Foster Farms will also donate one meal to local hunger relief organizations for every Foster Farms Bowl ticket purchased. For more information about the game and tickets, visit