Rachel Wyatt, no stranger to victory, won the Miss South Carolina crown Saturday night.
This was Wyatt's first attempt at the Miss South Carolina crown, but the Clemson University student is a seasoned professional. She won Miss South Carolina Teen in 2012 and went on to win Miss America's Outstanding Teen, the "little sister" pageant to Miss America. After passing on the national crown in 2013, Wyatt took some time off from pageants, enrolling at Clemson and dancing as a Rally Cat, the university's elite dance team. But this year, she returned to the pageant world, sweeping a crowd of 54 pageant veterans and novices, to take the crown on her first try.
Wyatt won a $30,000 scholarship along with the crown. The Piedmont native also won a $2,000 scholarship for the overall talent award and a $750 scholarship for a preliminary talent award. Wyatt performed a jazz dance to an acoustic version of Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" for her talent.
Wyatt competed as Miss Clemson. Friday night, Miss Clemson Teen Makayla Stark won the Miss South Carolina Teen crown. This is the first time a Miss and Teen contestant with the same title won the Miss South Carolina and Miss South Carolina Teen titles in the same year, and the second time two contestants from the same local pageant won the Miss and Teen crowns. In 2011, Bree Boyce won Miss South Carolina and Caitlen Patton won Miss South Carolina Teen. Boyce was Miss Capital City and Patton was Miss Columbia Teen and won the titles at the Miss Columbia/Capital City local pageant earlier in 2011.
Suzi Roberts, Miss Coastal Islands, was first runner-up at the pageant, taking home a $15,000 scholarship. Roberts, a University of South Carolina student from Pawleys Island, won the Quality of Life award earlier in the week. That award, which comes with a $2,000 scholarship, recognized Roberts for her work advocating for children. Roberts has served as a guardian ad litem and children's advocate in court cases. Roberts also won a preliminary swimsuit award earlier in the week, which comes with a $500 scholarship.
Miss North Greenville University Christal Potter was the second runner-up. Anna Mills Polatty, Miss Spartanburg, was third runner-up and Sydney Ford, Miss Columbia, was fourth runner-up.
Wyatt will compete at the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in September. During her year as Miss South Carolina, she will advocate for adults with mental disabilities as a part of her platform.