Miss North Dakota Cara Mund won the title of Miss America 2018 Sunday night — the first from her state to take the Miss America crown.
Mund, 23, beat the competition’s 50 other contestants to claim the title, succeeding the outgoing Miss America Savvy Shields.
It’s a big win for North Dakota, one of the lesser represented states in the pageant, as Mund referenced while onstage. During a preliminary round of questions, a first-ever for the competition, she was asked about the number one item on her bucket list.
“Honestly, it was to get to Miss America and make it past the top ten,” she said. “We’ve only had three girls ever make it this far and so it just proves that it doesn’t matter where you come from geographically, if you have the ability to do it and you dream it, you can do it.”
Earlier in the evening, Mund impressed the judges with a jazz routine to Michael Jackson’s The Way You Make Me Feel during the talent portion. During the question and answer portion, she was asked about the Trump administration’s decision to pull out of the Paris agreement.
“I do believe it’s a bad decision,” she answered. “Once we reject that, we take ourselves out of the negotiation table and that’s something that we really need to keep in mind. There is evidence that climate change is existing. So whether you believe it or not, we need to be at that table, and I think it’s just a bad decision on behalf of the United States.”
Miss Missouri Jennifer Davis was the night’s first runner-up, and Miss New Jersey Kaitlyn Schoeffel was the second. The third runner-up was Miss District of Colombia Briana Kinsey, and the fourth runner-up was Miss Texas Morgana Wood.
The top 15 finalists were: Miss Tennessee Caty Davis, Miss Virginia Cecili Weber, Miss Pennsylvania Katie Schreckengast, Miss Louisiana Laryssa Bonacquisti, Miss District of Columbia Briana Kinsey, Miss Texas Margana Wood, Miss New Mexico Taylor Rey, Miss Alabama Jessica Procter, Miss Missouri Jennifer Davis, Miss Alaska Angelina Klapperich, Miss Georgia Alyssa Beasley, Miss South Carolina Suzi Roberts, Miss New Jersey Kaitlyn Schoeffel, Miss North Dakota Cara Mund and Miss Illinois Abby Foster.