By Anita L. Sherman
Reigning Miss Virginia USA and Jeffersonton resident Samantha Casey was among the final three contestants vying for the Miss USA title Sunday evening.
Finishing in third place, or second runner up, the 21-year-old senior at the College of William and Mary and Highland School graduate, graced the stage at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas in a stunning, white evening gown.
The 51 contestants learned that evening who would make the final 15.
“Who will be lucky number 13,” said announcer NBC correspondent Natalie Morales as ‘Virginia’ was called out to be among the final 15 contestants.
Parading in scant swimsuits, Casey received one of the highest marks. Judges’ votes could be seen on the television screen. The pageant aired live on the East Coast.
Making it to the final 10, Casey competed in the evening gown portion. Regal, sophisticated and poised she confidently strolled past the judges and the audience of thousands on hand.
Miss Oklahoma USA Morgan Elizabeth Woolard was the first name to be called as the final five were announced. Miss Michigan. Miss Colorado. And then, fourth to be named, Miss Virginia. Casey, with her hand to her heart and a slight gasp of delight, broke into a broad smile and joined the others on stage. Miss Maine made up the final five.
Reaching into a clear fishbowl, each of the final five drew a judge’s name with a corresponding question. Casey’s question came from Paula Deen who asked her whether BP should bare all costs for the oil spill currently affecting the Louisiana Gulf region. Casey’s answer was diplomatic agreeing that BP was certainly involved and should bear responsibility but that the situation was ‘unfortunate’ and others were to blame as well. Ultimately, she felt that alternative forms of energy should be pursued while minimizing our dependency on foreign oil.
With Miss Maine coming in at fourth runner-up and Miss Colorado named as third runner-up, it left Casey as one of the final three contestants. All were wearing white gowns.
Casey, who captured the Miss Virginia 2010 title, in November 2009, made the decision to enter the pageant putting her final senior classes on hold.
First runner-up went to Miss Oklahoma and the 2010 Miss America title to 24-year-old Miss Michigan Rima Fakih. Rakih will compete in the 2010 Miss Universe pageant this summer.