Contestant with Down syndrome receives pageant spirit award

Mikayla Holmgren, center, accepts the Spirit Award.
Mikayla Holmgren, center, accepts the "Spirit Award" during the 2018 Miss Minnesota USA contest in Burnsville on Sunday. Presenting the award are Tori Triffin, Miss Minnesota Teen 2017, left, and Meridith Gould, Miss Minnesota USA 2017.
Scott Takushi | Pioneer Press via AP

Updated: 2:28 p.m. | Posted: 8:45 a.m.

A 22-year-old woman with Down syndrome did not win the Miss Minnesota USA pageant, but she did come away with special honors for her spirit.

Mikayla Holmgren received the spirit award and the director's award at Sunday night's pageant at the Ames Center in Burnsville. The audience gave Holmgren a standing ovation as she accepted the awards.

Holmgren, from Marine on St. Croix, was dressed in a royal-blue gown with a train. She shed tears of joy and said she was "so excited." The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that Holmgren was the first contestant with Down syndrome to compete in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant. She is a student in Bethel University's Inclusive Learning and Development program.

Kalie Wright, of Eagle Bend, was named Miss Minnesota USA 2018.

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