Stark County native Sarah Clapper crowned Miss Ohio on Saturday

Posted at 12:11 PM, Jun 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-22 12:11:14-04

Twenty-two year old Sarah Clapper of Louisville, Ohio is no stranger to taking center stage. She has competed in the Miss Ohio pageant five times, with her most recent run on Saturday.

For Clapper, the fifth time was a charm. 

On Saturday, she walked away with much more than just a charm though - sporting a new crown as Miss Ohio. 

From the gymnasium to center stage

"I didn't grow up in pageantry, I actually grew up as a competitive gymnast," Clapper said. "After my sophomore year of high school, I sustained back injuries that forced me to end my career as a gymnast. After that, I really started looking at alternative ways to fund my college career." 

Clapper then met former Miss Ohio Melinda Miller, who told her about the scholarship opportunities available within the Miss Ohio USA and Miss America organization. 

“At first, when she told me I should start competing, I think I laughed out loud. I just didn't think pageants were for me," Clapper said. "But, I attended the pageant in 2012, just to watch, and fell in love with the program. I was so impressed by the caliber of the women on stage, they immediately became my role models.” 

Chasing the crown

After not placing in her first year, Clapper knew she would keep coming back to the stage. 

She ranked in the top 10 her second year competing, then ranked third and fourth runner up before taking the crown this year. 

The Stark County native received a $10,000 scholarship and an official entry into the Miss America program in September. 

"Participating in the program has been so amazing. There are scholarship opportunities at the state and local level, so I have received $16,600 in scholarships from the program," Clapper said. 

That scholarship money helped Clapper graduate from The Ohio State University in 2016. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with an architecture degree, a passion she hasn't swept to the side to participate in pageants. 

"I'm currently working at Berardi Partners in Columbus, they have been so amazing," Clapper said. "They are letting me work part-time while fulfilling my responsibilities as Miss Ohio."  

Clapper also received the Miss America Miracle Makers Award on Saturday after raising $1,200 for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals in May. 

She takes the stage in September to compete as Miss America, a job she said she is prepared to take on. 

“I definitely went into Miss Ohio fully prepared to compete at Miss America," Clapper said. "If you are competing for the job of Miss Ohio, you have to be prepared to be Miss America. So, everything I did during my preparation I just kept thinking 'will this translate onto the Miss America stage?'" 

The first runner-up of the competition, Karolina Ulasevich, is also a Northeast Ohio native who represented North Royalton during the competition.