In less than a minute, Abby Alsop brought a filled McCain Auditorium from laughter to utter silence.
Alsop, freshman in microbiology, was crowned Miss K-State 2014 Monday night after showcasing her K-State passion and talents, including her powerful monologue “13 Things About Ed Carpolotti.”
It was the monologue that made Alsop, who represented Boyd Hall in the competition, stand out from the 19 other competitors, said judge Adam Miller, admissions representative.
“That monologue was probably the best acting I’ve seen,” Miller said. “She had us crying and laughing in 45 seconds. You can’t even eat a Hot Pocket that fast.”
When her named was called, Alsop said she couldn’t quite believe it.
“It was amazing, but kind of surreal,” she said. “It was quite an experience.”
Second annual event
The Miss K-State competition, hosted by Delta Upsilon and the Union Program Council, focused on showcasing the “talent, creativity, confidence and intelligence” of K-State women, according to Connor Hunt, the event’s public relations director and junior in mass communications.
The competition kicked off with each competitor introducing themselves, decked out in their best K-State gear, including a K-State Snuggie and unofficial Willie the Wildcat head.
During the following talent portion, which judges remarked was exceptional, contestants showcased what made them original. The acts ranged from a rendition of “Benny and the Jets” by Chi Omega contestant and junior in advertising, Ellen Collingwood, to an acoustic guitar and singing performance about coming to K-State by Kendall Thompkins, sophomore in graphic design and Zeta Tau Alpha contestant.
“Doesn’t matter what brought me here, because I’ll love this place for more than just four years,” Thompkins sang, a line that brought cheers from the audience.
Thompkins was later crowned third runner-up.
Naci Peters, junior in family studies and human services and marching band color guard contestant, brought the crowd to their feet with her color guard performance to the “K-State Fight Song” and “Wabash Cannonball.” Peters was later crowned first runner-up.
Following the talent portion, the 20 contestants were cut down to nine. At the last minute, emcees Kaitlyn Dewell, senior in mass communications and Miss K-State 2013, and Tyler Johnson, senior in management, announced that another contestant would advance to the next round through an audience “text to save” competition. Katy Fernandes, freshman in pre-pharamacy and Gamma Phi Beta contestant, was selected as the winner and joined the nine other contestants in the final two rounds.
“The contestant save was great,” said Russell Harp, junior in business management and entrepreneurship, DU member and event adviser. “It was suspenseful and a surprise for everyone.”
During the third round, contestants shared their professional passions through short skits, but with a caveat – they couldn’t talk. Performances ranged from Lauren Dunkak, junior in political science and Alpha of Clovia contestant, sharing her desire to make it to Capitol Hill and scattering the stage with red, white and blue balloons to Jordan Priddle, senior in counseling and student development, showing a “perspective student” around “campus” before he ripped open his jacket to reveal a K-State shirt. Priddle was later named second runner-up.
“It was really great to get to know these girls a little bit,” Becki Ronen Walenz, judge and Miss Kansas 2009, said.
The fourth and final round consisted of on-stage, K-State themed questions ranging from “If you could pick one person to be the face of K-State, who would it be and why?” (Peters’ answer was band director Frank Tracz, for his undying energy and positive attitude), to “If you had to describe Kansas State University in one word, what would it be and why?” to which Alsop answered “Family.” Alsop is the third member of her family to attend K-State, she said.
“My grandpa actually walked to be here,” she said.
All contestants were welcomed back to the stage for the final award presentation. Fernandes was awarded the “Social Media Award” for gathering hundreds of “re-Tweets” and thousands of “Likes” on social media about the competition; Collingwood was awarded the “Crowd Favorite” award. Kappa Kappa Gamma contestant and junior in music education, Katie Omo, received the “Team Spirit Award;” Omo and Collingwood also received the “Miss Congeniality” awards, voted on by the other contestants based on the ladies’ attitudes and sportsmanship.
Thompkins, Priddle and Peters received their third, second and first runner-up crowns and sashes, respectively.
Fundraiser, good time
As it was the second annual Miss K-State competition, they were excited to see it grow, Harp said. They moved the venue from the K-State Student Union Ballroom to McCain Auditorium to allow for more people as they oversold the venue last year, he said.
The event served as a fundraiser for DU’s philanthropy, Global Service Initiative, which sends chapter members to Jamaica to help build schools in under-served areas. A final total wasn’t available Tuesday evening, but Harp said he believed it was more than in 2013 when the event garnered almost $3,400.
Overall, Harp said he was pleased with the event.
“It went great,” Harp said. “The women were really going for the crown this year. The talent was cut-throat.”
For Dewell, handing off her crown after a year as the first ever Miss K-State was bittersweet.
“I found myself getting nervous for the announcement,” Dewell said. “It was like a passing of the legacy. I’m really happy for Abby. She was so poised and graceful.”
Being crowned Miss K-State 2014 was a great honor, Aslop said. For the freshman, being a “K-Stater” is important, and being the new Miss K-State is part of that.
“It means a lot,” Aslop said. “(Being a K-Stater) means being a part of something bigger than what you are at home. You meet a million people doing a million great things … we are a whole new family.”