Hannah Brewer is on the national stage of a major American pageant for a second time this week as she competes for the Miss America 2017 crown. A pageant veteran, Brewer, previously competed for Miss Teen USA, representing Maryland in 2013. She finished in the top 16.

She was crowned Miss Maryland last June and, on Wednesday, was named the preliminary winner of the Miss America swimsuit competition. The judges’ decision resulted in her winning a $1,000 scholarship in the health and fitness category.

A first for Maryland?

A business major, Brewer has also won a Quality of Life award at this year’s pageant. If she goes on to win the pageant on Sunday, she will become the first contestant from Maryland to wear the national crown. Several Maryland contestants have done well at the national level.

The last Maryland resident to reach the top 10 was Christina Denny in 2013. The highest-placing contestant from the state to date is Virginia Cha, who was named first runner-up in 1989. She currently is a news anchor for a San Diego television station.

Talent honoree

Also honored on Wednesday was Savvy Shields of Arkansas. She was named a preliminary winner in the talent category. The victory earned her a $2,000 scholarship. She attends the University of Arkansas and has used her state title over the past year to promote her personal platform, “Eat Better, Live Better.” She also has previous experience on a national pageant stage.

She represented Arkansas in 2009 at the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Pageant.

Shields would be the third contestant from Arkansas to wear the national crown. Previous titleholders from Arkansas were Elizabeth Ward in 1982 and Donna Axum in 1964.

Watch the finals on ABC

There will be one more preliminary competition on Thursday. The final night of competition is Sunday. The finals and the crowning of a new Miss America will be carried live from Atlantic City on the ABC television network.

There are 51 contestants, one from each state plus the District of Columbia. They are judged in evening gown, swimsuit, talent, private interview and on-stage answers categories.

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