Berkley Bryant, 17, of Anderson was crowned Miss South Carolina Teen on Friday in the finals of the competition held at the historic Township Auditorium in Columbia.
Bryant — Miss River City Teen — edged out first runner-up Miss Columbia Teen Julia Herrin of Bluffton and Miss Greater Greer Teen Kellan Fenegan of Lexington. Bryant, who attends T.L. Hanna High School, takes over the title from 2017 Miss South Carolina Teen Ally McCaslin.
Bryant was a preliminary talent winner, performing a tap dance to Bruno Mars' Runaway Baby, and will compete in America’s Outstanding Teen Pageant in Orlando, Fla., July 24-26.
Bryant won a $10,000 award toward her education. In all, the Miss South Carolina Teen pageant handed out more than $65,000 in scholarship money.
The pageant "is about empowering these young women and seeing them succeed," said Chaz Ellis, the pageant's vice president and interim co-executive director.
Bryant told The State she had worked five years to become Miss South Carolina Teen.
"I'm so thrilled," she said shortly after she was crowned. "This is the end of a five-year journey, and I'm so proud to be able to represent my state."
In addition to the scholarship money, the contestants and their "princesses" — younger girls the contestants mentor — raised more than $16,000 for the Children's Miracle Network in South Carolina.
The pageant began Tuesday night with three days of preliminaries for the Miss Teen pageant and the Miss South Carolina Pageant. The finals of the Miss South Carolina pageant will be held at 8 p.m. Saturday.
In the preliminaries, contestants were divided into groups and, over three days, competed in the talent, swimsuit/evening wear, or on-stage question categories.
This is the last year of swimsuit competition for Miss South Carolina and Miss America. And the Miss Teen pageant featured the newer fitness component with the contestants performing a set fitness routine of jumps, squats, pushups and poses.
The winners in each category were announced each evening, and those women made up the pool of 16 finalists for the Friday and Saturday night events.
Tickets for Saturday's events can be purchased through Ticketmaster or the Township Auditorium Box Office. The pageant will also be televised live on WACH FOX 57 and streamed online for a fee.
The reigning Miss South Carolina is Suzi Roberts.
Miss South Carolina 2018 will compete for the title of Miss America in Atlantic City, N.J., on Sept. 9. The competition will be televised on ABC.