ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (Valley News Live and AP) - Miss North Dakota, Cara Mund, has been named Miss America 2018 the first time anyone from the state has won the national competition.
Mund topped a field of 51 contestants to win the crowd in Atlantic City, NJ Sunday night, where most of the 97 Miss Americas have been selected.
Mund will hold the title for one year, traveling the country to promote her personal platform of Make-A-Wish, the Miss America Organization's platform of the Children's Miracle Network, and attend various events throughout the year.
The Miss America Organization requires each contestant to purse a personal platform, which can be a charitable cause or foundation, philanthropic venture, or personal passion. Mund's platform supports Make-A-Wish, an organization she has volunteered with since childhood.
In an interview with The Associated Press before preliminary competition began, Mund, who lives in Bismarck, said her goal is to be the first woman elected governor of her state.
She said she wants to see more women elected to all levels of government.
"It's important to have a woman's perspective," Mund, who had an internship in the U.S. Senate, told the AP. "In health care and on reproductive rights, it's predominantly men making those decisions."
An Ivy League graduate from Brown University who is headed to law school, Mund went to high school with Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.
"I said, 'If Carson Wentz can do it, Miss North Dakota Cara Mund can become Miss America,'" she said after winning the title.
North Dakota has only advanced to the the Top 15 contestant selection of Miss America four times in the pageant's history.
Mund competed at Miss America under five categories - personal interview, talent, evening gown, life style and fitness, and onstage question.
Miss Missouri Jennifer Davis was first runner-up. The second runner up was Miss New Jersey Kaitlyn Schoeffel; third runner up was Miss District of Columbia Briana Kinsey, and fourth runner up was Miss Texas Margana Wood.
The competition took place at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall, where it originated as a way to extend summer tourism to the weekend after Labor Day.
We want to wish Cara congratulations and can't wait to see her represent both North Dakota and the country over the next year!