The crowd erupted in a tremendous roar of cheers and applause when Miss Orange Coast Bree Morse was crowned Miss California 2015 at the William Saroyan Theatre in downtown Fresno.
As the winner, Morse, 23, a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, receives a $12,000 scholarship from the Miss California pageant.
For Morse, the fourth time was the charm.
“I am so incredibly excited,” Morse said. “This has been a tremendous journey. It’s my fourth year competing and I could not be more excited. I just can’t believe it, oh my goodness.”
“I was always Southern California titles,” she said. “The first title I had was Miss Garden Grove, which is my hometown. Then I was Miss North County, Miss Orange County and now Miss Orange Coast. The first time I came I didn’t place, which is fine, but I loved it so much I came back for a second time, I got in the Top 12 I believe, and then the next year I was second runner-up and here we are!”
Morse advances to the Miss America Pageant held in Atlantic City, New Jersey to compete for the title of Miss America 2015.
This year’s Miss California pageant featured 53 contestants and marked the 23rd consecutive year it was held at the Saroyan Theatre.
First runner-up was Miss Yosemite Valley Izamar Olaguez, one of 10 women in the pageant with ties to the Valley. The others were: Miss Fresno County Keri Allred, Miss Clovis Taylor Coloka, Miss Central Valley Victoria Alberti, Miss Central California Regional Caelin Nieto, Miss Kings County Tiffany Richardson, Miss Merced County Malina Meza, Miss San Joaquin County Harleen Dhaliwal, Miss Tulare County Samantha Rhoden and Miss North Valley Regional Morgan Edwards.
Preliminary events were held earlier in the week. Tuesday night’s winners were Olaguez for evening wear and Miss San Francisco Felicia Stiles for talent. On Wednesday night, Miss City of Sacramento Ashley Ott won evening wear and Olaguez won the talent round.
Thursday night, Miss Orange County Caylynn Simonson won talent and Miss Yorba Linda Cheyenne Kotick won evening wear.
On the final night of preliminary competition, Miss Inland Empire Madison Givens won evening wear; Kotick and Miss Covina Vivian Tang tied for talent.
The week of competition also included the crowning Friday night of Miss California’s Outstanding Teen.
The 2014 winner, Kyla Reed of Tehachapi, crowned her replacement, Miss Sierra Nevada Avery Grooms.
Grooms, 17, a Fresno native and Clovis North High School student, won a $2,500 scholarship and Wednesday night’s preliminary talent competition with dance.