Alexa Schmidt, Miss University of Central Florida, on Saturday narrowly missed becoming the fourth UCF consecutive student to be named Miss Florida.
Schmidt, a Jacksonville senior majoring in psychology, was the first runner-up to the new Miss Florida, Laura McKeeman, a St. Petersburg TV sportscaster.
Schmidt won $7,100 for being named runner-up and posting high scores in the preliminary talent, preliminary interview and newcomer-of-the-year categories.
Two other UCF students made it to the top 11 finalists chosen from the 43 contestants: Jerusha Cavazos of Celebration, a junior majoring in musical theatre who holds the title of Miss South Florida, and Meagan Cartaya of Homestead, a sophomore majoring in advertising and public relations who holds the title of Miss Homestead. Each earned $750.
If Schmidt had won the title, she would have followed in the footsteps of three other UCF students named Miss Florida: Kristina Janolo in 2011, Jacqueline Raulerson in 2010 and Rachael Todd in 2009.
Nine of the 43 contestants at the pageant in St. Petersburg were UCF students.
The new Miss Florida will advance to compete for the title of Miss America early next year.