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Ivy League Graduate, Dance Champion Crowned Miss USA | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Cara Mund, an Ivy League graduate and national dance champion from North Dakota, was crowned Miss America. (Reuters)

London – An Ivy League graduate and national dance champion from North Dakota was crowned Miss America on Sunday, becoming the first contestant from the state to win the nearly 100-year-old contest.

According to Reuters, Cara Mund, a graduate of Brown University, who has been accepted to Notre Dame’s law school, trained for several summers with the world-famous Rockettes.

Mund, 23, was one of 51 contestants in the pageant, representing the 50 United States and the capital Washington.

Mund, who adopted the Make-a-Wish foundation which benefits children with life-threatening conditions as her platform for the competition, performed a jazz dance to “The Way You Make Me Feel” for the contest’s talent portion, wearing a black mini-dress with a matching hat.

In the question-and-answer segment, Mund weighed in on the United States’ recent withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, saying she thought it was a bad decision.

The first runner-up was Miss Missouri, Jennifer Davis, who competed on a platform of diversity.

The pageant was broadcast live on ABC from Atlantic City, New Jersey.

The contest returned to the seaside gambling resort a few years ago after nearly a decade in Las Vegas. It was dropped by ABC in 2004 following a steep ratings decline, but returned after years on cable.

Judges scored contestants, who ranged from teenagers to the cut-off age of 24, based on talent, the live question segment, a personal interview and appearances in gowns and swimsuits. Many of the entrants drew on music or dance for the talent portion.