Sarah Clapper, the newly crowned Miss Ohio, is looking forward to representing the Buckeye State in the Miss America pageant in September.
Clapper, who was crowned Miss Clayland in September, will be spending two weeks in Atlantic City, N.J., for the pageant, which will be broadcast on ABC at 8 p.m. Sept. 10. She said she isn't nervous about the event.
"It's out of my control," she said Monday. "I just believe that everything happens for a reason. I will go in with great intentions of being true to who I am and being my best self. If I don't win, I will continue as Miss Ohio, meeting and seeing new people. I'm super excited about that."
A total of 19 women competed for the title during the pageant, which was held at the Renaissance Theater in Mansfield. She gained the title on Saturday. She also received a $10,000 scholarship.
Clapper is the sixth Miss Clayland to be crowned Miss Ohio -- the fourth in the last 10 years. The first, Susan Perkins, went on to become Miss America in 1978, according to Martha Campbell, the Miss Clayland pageant director.
"We at the Miss Clayland pageant are incredibly excited to have this opportunity to have Miss Clayland become a Miss Ohio and compete for the title of Miss America," Campbell said.
She noted that Clapper and the last two Miss Clayland winners to be crowned Miss Ohio -- Karissa Martin in 2008 and Ellen Bryan in 2011 -- all stayed in the same room of the same host home while competing for Miss Ohio and had the same chaperone.
Clapper said it has yet to sink in that she is Miss Ohio.
"I have the crown and the sash sitting on my counter, but it hasn't sunk in yet," she said. "It's so humbling, and I'm so excited to represent Ohio at the Miss America pageant."
Clapper, a Columbus resident, is a native of Louisville in Stark County. Her parents, Jackie and Frank Clapper, own and run the Louisville Herald, a weekly newspaper that has been in the family since 1927.
She has a degree from the Ohio State University and is employed by Berardi Partners, an architecture firm in Columbus. She works as a project coordinator and oversees marketing efforts for the firm. "It was an incredible opportunity that helped prepare me to be Miss Ohio," she said.
She will be taking a year off work to devote all of her time to being Miss Ohio. Berardi has been supportive of her endeavor, she said.
Her platform will be "More to Me: Defining Value for Success." She will be trying to help athletes when they have to transition out of sports and use the life skills gained as an athlete in their lives.
When she was in high school, she participated in gymnastics. But she suffered a back injury and had to drop out. "I suffered from a loss of identity," she said. "It's prevalent in the athletic industry. Many athletes struggle when they transition out of sports."
She isn't sure if she will have an opportunity to return to Tuscarawas County anytime soon because of her busy schedule.
Clapper noted that people in her hometown of Louisville have been supportive of her efforts. "I am so thankful for everyone who has supported me on this journey," she said.