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Misses Mississippi And Minnesota Win Second-Round Prelims

September 9, 1988

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) _ Miss Mississippi won the swimsuit competition and Miss Minnesota’s violin performance charmed the judges in the talent division Thursday in the second night of preliminary competitions for the Miss America Pageant.

Miss Mississippi Carla Haag, a 23-year-old from Hattiesburg, Miss., wore a simple white swimsuit, shunning the popular ″supersuit″ - a custom-designed suit said to hide flaws and enhance assets - worn by many other contestants.

Miss Minnesota Gretchen Elizabeth Carlson played a spirited violin solo titled ″Gypsy Airs.″

Miss Haag, a 5-foot-6, 105-pound blonde, is a graduate student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham majoring in psychology. She aspires to develop a legal subspecialty called ″preventive divorce law,″ which will require degrees in both psychology and law.

For her talent presentation, Miss Carlson wore a black velvet gown with a sweetheart neckline, accentuated with green lame puffed sleeves and green lame pleated, layered skirts. She wore a matching green hairpiece.

Afterward, Miss Carlson said she had expected a strong showing with the talent she has developed for 17 years.

Miss Carlson, 22, from Anoka, Minn., is a senior majoring in organizational behavior at Stanford University. After graduation, she would like to enter graduate law studies, ″hopefully at Harvard,″ she has said.

Thursday’s competition was the second of three nights of swimsuit, talent and evening gown rounds. The winners of the preliminary evening gown competitions are kept secret to heighten the suspense for the finals.

The three nights of preliminary competitions for the 51 contestants are the first steps to the live nationally televised Miss America Pageant on Saturday.

The 10 women who have accumulated the most points in preliminary competitions and interviews with the judges will compete to succeed Miss America 1988 Kaye Lani Rae Rafko.

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