Brainerd's Savannah Cole is Miss Minnesota 2014
Savannah Cole, of Brainerd, was crowned Miss Minnesota for 2014.
Cole, who was in the pageant as Miss Southern Valley, is the daughter of Rick and Deb Cole of Brainerd. Cole, a Brainerd High School graduate, is studying physical therapy at North Dakota State University. Her platform is on epilepsy awareness.
Cole follows in the footsteps of Rebecca Yeh, Nisswa, who was reigning Miss Minnesota. Cole was first runner-up for Miss Minnesota in 2013, when Yeh won the title.
Yeh secured the tiara atop Cole's head for the new Miss Minnesota's celebratory walk with long-stemmed red roses in hand.
Cole sings, plays the violin and has a long history of being active in local theater. Cole is also active with the Children's Miracle Network Hospital to raise funds for local children's hospitals. Cole won the preliminary swimsuit competition and the preliminary talent competition. She sang "House of the Rising Sun."
Cole is a former Miss Baxter Outstanding Teen in 2012 and first runner-up for Miss Brainerd Lakes in 2013. She went on to compete in the open pageant for Miss Southern Valley in Lakeville, winning the title and securing a trip to the Miss Minnesota pageant.
Five women with Brainerd ties were part of Saturday's Miss Minnesota Scholarship Pageant in Eden Prairie.
"They all did fabulously," said Cyndi Kalenberg, director of the Miss Brainerd Lakes Scholarship Program. The Miss Minnesota event had 25 women all trying their best to gain the title, Kalenberg said.
"They've made great friends and it's amazing to see them," Kalenberg said, noting the young women helped mentor each other and will be able to take skills gained such as interviewing to help them in whatever they do later in life.
"That's really what Miss Minnesota and Miss America is all about, girls getting together and mentoring each other."
The women with Brainerd ties, included Lauren Johnson, Miss Central Lakes; Maren Goff, Miss Moorhead; Bailey Wachholz, Miss Brainerd Lakes; and Emily Lundgren, Miss Heart of the Lakes.
Johnson, Brainerd, was third runner-up at the Miss Minnesota pageant. Goff, East Gull Lake, won the Spirit Award, which is voted on by fellow contestants. Goff also won the non-finalist interview award. Lundgren, Aitkin, a singer, took home the rookie talent award and won the non-finalist talent award. Wachholz, Nisswa, won the Miss America's Community Service Award and the Impact of Change Award.
Johnson and Wachholz were finalists in the Tracie Joy McBride Quality of LIfe Award.
Kalenberg said the Brainerd pageant will be Oct. 18.
Lauren Algyer, Prior Lake, was named Miss Minnesota's Outstanding Teen.
The Miss Minnesota Scholarship Pageant is a non-profit organization that awards scholarships to outstanding young women to help advance them academically and professionally.