TCU student representing Frisco is crowned Miss Texas
ARLINGTON -- Miss Frisco Kendall Morris captured the Miss Texas crown Friday before a packed house at Texas Hall at the University of Texas at Arlington.
A 20-year-old broadcast journalism major at Texas Christian University, she played the piano as her talent.
"It was a wonderful year to be a Horned Frog," said Morris, who is from Ennis. A baton twirler with the TCU band, she performed at the Rose Bowl this year during TCU's victory over Wisconsin.
First runner-up was Miss Harris County Adrianna Nelson, followed by Miss Lake of the Pines DaNae Couch, Miss Colleyville Jordan Johannsen and Miss Dallas Candice Bennatt.
The young women were selected after three days of preliminary competition at UT Arlington.
The Miss Texas Outstanding Teen Pageant was also held this week, and the winner, Miss Colleyville's Outstanding Teen, Reilly Johannsen, was also crowned Friday night.
She is the little sister of Jordan Johannsen.
The new Miss Texas will receive a $10,000 cash scholarship to use at the school of her choice. She will also receive the use of a car for one year from Grubbs Infiniti and will embark on a 12-month speaking tour, making more than 400 appearances, according to pageant historian Randy E. Pruett.
The newly crowned Miss Texas replaces Ashley Melnick, who competed as Miss Fort Worth and was also a student at TCU.
The new Miss Texas will represent the Lone Star State at the Miss America Pageant in Las Vegas in January. The final competition, on Jan. 14, will be broadcast live from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.
The Texas pageant was founded in 1936 and has evolved into an organization devoted to providing scholarships to young women. Almost all contestants have either received or are earning college degrees.
One of the highlights of Friday's pageant was the appearance of singer Patrick Thomas, a recent contestant on the NBC reality show The Voice. He sang Amazed during an evening gown production number. Thomas, a graduate of Colleyville Heritage High School, is the son of Mary Ellen Richardson Thomas, Miss Texas 1975.
Serving on the judging panel was Marshawn Evans, a magna cum laude graduate of TCU and a former Miss Texas contestant. She also competed in the Miss America Pageant representing the District of Columbia and finished third runner-up.
Other judges were A.J. Dees Jr., former executive director of the Miss Mississippi pageant; harpist and TV host Merry Miller; Rodney L. Williams, a choreographer, composer and gospel recording artist; Steven Oliveri, executive director of the Miss Ohio pageant; Amy Engle, co-executive director of the Miss Nebraska pageant; and Alan McClung, a member of the University of North Texas music faculty.