ATLANTIC CITY— Miss North Dakota Cara Mund was crowned the new Miss America Sunday night following a stunning performance as a dancer that garnered a raucous ovation from much of the crowd at Boardwalk Hall.
Mund, who is aspiring to become the first female governor of her state, is the first contestant from North Dakota to win the competition or even qualify for the top five.
She will now travel thousands of miles a month touring the country this year promoting her platform, Make-A-Wish Passion with Fashion.
She said she lives life by the motto of "you can't control the hand your dealt, but you can control how you react to it" and will pursue a law degree after her time as Miss America is up.
At a news conference after the competition, Mund said that she went to high school with Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz and that if he can play in the NFL, then "Miss North Dakota Cara Mund can become Miss America."
Her parents, Doug and DeLora, said it was a great honor for their family to be associated with a great organization and a historic line of prestigious women as Miss America.
"We're just so thrilled," DeLora Mund said."All 51 contestants are just incredible women and any one of them could have been Miss America, but we're so pleased that it is our daughter."
The competition was the culmination of a week and a half of events that showcased Atlantic City and the many talents that each contestant brought to the competition, including a ventriloquist, a saxophone player, many dancers and several singers.
Mund will begin her year as Miss America with the annual toe dip and photo shoot at 11 a.m. on the beach in Atlantic City.