BIRMINGHAM – In her third attempt to win the coveted Miss Alabama crown, Caitlin Brunell’s dream came true Saturday night.
At the Wright Center on the campus of Samford University, Brunell won over 46 other young ladies vying for the title. As Miss Leeds Area, Brunell gave the Leeds community something to be proud of – a second consecutive Miss Alabama, and third in the past four years.
This is something I have worked so very hard for,” Brunell said. “I am so honored and so blessed.”
Two years ago, Brunell finished third runner-up as Miss University of Alabama. Last year, Brunell was first runner-up as Miss Rocket City.
Brunell is the 22-year-old daughter of Mark and Stacy Brunell of Jacksonville, Fla. Her father is a retired NFL quarterback who is now an ESPN NFL analyst and high school football coach.
In winning Miss Alabama Saturday, she received $11,000 in scholarship money. Since being involved in the Miss America Pageant, Brunell has won more than $86,000 in scholarship money. She is a student at the University of Alabama.
Now, it is on to Atlantic City in September to compete in the Miss America Pageant.
“I started sending in my paperwork Monday,” Brunell said. “I don’t think it has hit me yet that I’m going to compete in the Miss America Pageant. I have been watching it since I was a little girl.”
Sandra McGuire, director of the Miss Leeds Area Pageant, said Brunell is well-deserving of the title.
“She is one of the hardest workers I have ever been around,” McGuire said. “She is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. She will be a wonderful representative for the state of Alabama at the Miss America Pageant.
There were several other local area ladies participating in the Miss Alabama program.
Competing in her first Miss Alabama Pageant, Springville’s Cassidy Jacks was named as a Top Ten finalist as Miss Tuscaloosa.
“This is just a dream come true,” Jacks said. “I have wanted to compete in this pageant for many years now. I was ecstatic and my adrenaline was pumping the entire week.”
Also from Springville was Lacey Gossett, Miss DeKalb-Jackson. Gossett, 19, said the entire week was a blessing.
“We had so much fun,” she said. “Having this experience has been so wonderful. I was so excited about the evening gown portion of the competition. I was pleased with the entire week, and my entire performance.”
Remlap’s Erica Gholson graduated from Springville High School. This was her third and final attempt at Miss Alabama. This year, she was Miss Gardendale Magnolia Festival. At the age of 23, Gholson said this week was emotional for her.
“I have competed for years and years, and felt like the old lady up here on stage,” Gholson said. “It was sad knowing I was competing on this stage for the very last time. I felt good about the entire week because I left it all on the stage.”
Other young women competing included Sylacauga’s Makenzie Roberson as Miss Chattahoochee Valley; Elizabeth Wesson as Miss Talladega County; Rachel Rivers as Miss Childersburg; and Sylacauga’s Victoria Bailey as Miss Sylacauga.