New Miss America Is Illinois Student
Miss Illinois Katherine Shindle was crowned Miss America 1998 as the ratings-starved pageant sought to lure back viewers by shedding traditions and including two-piece swimsuits for the first time in 50 years. The first runner-up was Miss North Carolina Michelle Warren and the second runner-up was Miss Mississippi Myra Barginear. Miss Arizona Stacey Momeyer and Miss California Rebekah Ann Keller rounded out the top five. Shindle, a 20-year-old aspiring actress who works as a janitor at a dance studio in exchange for lessons, was among five of 10 semifinalists who chose to wear two-piece suits. The raven-haired, 5-foot-11 senior at Northwestern University hugged Warren and broke into tears when host John Callahan announced her name at the end of the 77th annual Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City.