O’Neill crowned Miss South Dakota 2021

Courtesy photos: Above, Miss South Dakota 2019/2020 Amber Hulse crowns Miss South Dakota 2021 Kaitlin O’Neill. Below, Miss SDOT 2019/20 Payton Steffenson crowns her successor, Miss SDOT 2021 Kianna Healy.

BROOKINGS – Kaitlin O’Neill, whose hometown is Groton, was crowned Miss South Dakota 2021 Saturday night. 

In addition to her scholarship of $8,000 for winning the competition, O’Neill was a preliminary talent winner Thursday evening ($1,000), and on-stage interview winner on Friday ($500.) She was also the overall interview winner ($500) and took home the state community service Award ($1,000).

O’Neill’s platform is “Bloom – Healthy Mind, Healthy Body, Healthy You.” Her talent was a contemporary ballet to “Bad Guy” by Eklipse. She is the daughter of Robin O’Neill and Steve O’Neill and competed as Miss Dakota Plains. O’Neill graduated from Minnesota State University-Mankato, with majors in dance and marketing. 

First runner-up was Hunter Widvey of Rapid City, garnering a $4,000 scholarship. Widvey also won the $1,000 preliminary talent award Friday night.

Second runner-up was Annie Woodmansey of Pierre. In addition to her scholarship award of $2,000, she received the Quality of Life scholarship and the Sylvia Tannehill Kindness scholarship, each for $1,000.

Third runner-up was Miranda O’Brian, taking home a scholarship of $1,500, in addition to the $500 award for preliminary on-stage interview and social initiative pitch on Thursday.

Fourth runner-up and winner of a $1,200 scholarship was Margaret Samp, Sioux Falls. In addition, she received the Ray Peterson “Rookie of the Year” award of $500 for being the top-placing first-time candidate.

Rounding out the top eight semi-finalists and receiving $1000 scholarships were Carly Goodhart of Sisseton, who also won a $750 STEM Scholarship, Sylvie Larson of Harrisburg, and Maleah Eschembaum of Aberdeen.

Courtney Remick, Prior Lake, Minnesota, won the most talented non-semi-finalist ($300 scholarship) as well as a $750 STEM Scholarship. Emma Salzwedel of Sioux Falls was voted Miss Congeniality by her fellow contestants ($500 scholarship). Baylee Dittman had the top interview for a non-semi-finalist ($300 scholarship).

Fifteen women from across the state competed for the title. All won scholarships, totaling nearly $35,000.

O’Neill will compete at the Miss America Pageant at the Mohegan Sun resort in Connecticut, December 2021.

Healy crowned Miss South Dakota’s Outstanding Teen 

Kianna Healy, 17, Miss Siouxland’s Outstanding Teen, was crowned Miss South Dakota’s Outstanding Teen Saturday afternoon. 

She sang “I’m A Star” by Scott Alan and won the talent portion of the competition. The Hartford native’s parents are Ross and Michelle Healy. She will be a freshman at the University of South Dakota this fall. Healy received a total of $2,250 in scholarships.

First runner-up was Rio Snyder of Black Hawk. Snyder was the Lifestyle and Fitness award winner, and the state community service scholarship winner. She received $1,350 in scholarships. 

Second runner-up was Karina Novotny of Hot Springs, earning $750 in scholarships. Third runner-up was Danielle Nowell of Hitchcock, winning a $500 scholarship. Fourth runner-up was Javonte Madsen of Rapid City, taking home a $350 scholarship.

Hayden Widvey, Miss Hot Springs’ Outstanding Teen, from Rapid City, was voted Miss Congeniality by her fellow candidates, and received a $250 scholarship for that honor.

The new James L. and Ardis Johnson Jackrabbit Award, presented to young women who are planning on attending SDSU ($1,250 each) went to Natalie Schoeppner and Danielle Nowell. The $200 Banner Associates STEM scholarship, for a candidate planning to pursue a STEM field, was awarded to Laney Titze.

Candidates received almost $10,000 in scholarships total. Healy will represent South Dakota at the 2021 Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Competition which will be held in Orlando, Florida, July 27-30.

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