The third time proved to be the charm for new Miss Utah 2016 Lauren Wilson.
After competing in 2014 and 2015, Wilson became the state’s newest holder of the Miss Utah title Saturday night at Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake City as Miss Utah 2015 Krissia Beatty handed off the crown.
Wilson, who represented northern Utah County at the pageant, will now spend the next year promoting her platform, “With Help Comes Hope: Suicide Awareness & Prevention,” as well as the Miss America Organization’s national platform, the Children’s Miracle Network. She will compete at the Miss America Pageant in September, and is the recipient of a $10,000 scholarship on the state level.
Wilson is a graduate of Utah Valley University, where she studied behavioral science with an emphasis in psychology. For the talent portion of the competition, Wilson performed a dance to "Libertango."
As Saturday’s competition kicked off, the field of 50 contestants was immediately narrowed down to 11, with one additional finalist named via a People’s Choice competition.
The People’s Choice winner was Miss Timpanogos Caitlin Woods. The other contestants joining her onstage, rounding out the top 12, were Miss Utah County Lizzy Palmatier, Miss Murray Nicole Montgomery, Miss Weber County Alix Dritlein, Miss Roy D’Mia Lamar, Miss Orem Jessica Craig, Miss Farmington Victoria Phillips, Miss Nebo Brynn Christensen, Miss Northern Utah County Lauren Wilson, Miss Heart of Utah JessiKate Riley, Miss Eastern Utah Briana Garrido and Miss Springville-Mapleton Madison Monson.
The 12 contestants competed in the lifestyle and fitness and talent categories before the field was again narrowed, this time down to the top seven.
The top seven contestants were: Miss Springville-Mapleton Madison Monson, Miss Utah County Lizzy Palmatier, Miss Roy D’Mia Lamar, Miss Nebo Brynn Christensen, Miss Heart of Utah JessiKate Riley, Miss Orem Jessica Craig and Miss Northern Utah County Lauren Wilson. Each of the remaining seven contestants then competed in the onstage question portion of the evening, fielding questions from the judges on issues ranging from global warming to health care, President Obama’s time in office and the monitoring of police officer behavior.
The overall first runner-up and winner of a $3,000 scholarship was Miss Orem Jessica Craig, the second runner-up and winner of a $1,500 scholarship was Miss Heart of Utah JessiKate Riley, the third runner-up and winner of a $1,000 scholarship was Miss Springville-Mapleton Madison Monson and the fourth runner-up and winner of an $800 scholarship was Miss Roy D’Mia Lamar.
Other awards given during the evening included:
• The Miracle Maker Award, which is given to the contestant who raises the most money for the Children’s Miracle Network, went to Miss Orem Jessica Craig.
• The Miss America Community Service Award went to Miss Lehi Caitlin Thomas.
• The Miss America academic scholarship award went to Miss Wasatch County Valeria Jimenez.
• The Spirit of Miss Utah award, which is voted on by the contestants at the pageant, went to Miss Legacy Alexsys Campbell.
• Two Glen Harmon Instrumentalist Awards were given out at the pageant, going to Miss Utah County Lizzy Palmatier and Miss Heart of Utah JessiKate Riley.
Twelve “Forever Miss Utahs,” or former Miss Utahs who have passed on their titles, were also honored during the night’s events.
The Miss Utah Pageant is celebrating its 80th anniversary.
Article author Jackie Hicken is on the board of the Miss Utah Organization.