Plainview native wins Miss Wayland crown

PLAINVIEW – The Association of Former Students at Wayland Baptist University was sitting a little prouder Saturday night after their candidate, Terra Watson, won the title of Miss Wayland during the Saturday pageant. 

Not only is Watson a Plainview native, she is the daughter of Wayland alum Rodney Watson and his wife Lana. A sophomore business administration major with management and marketing specialization, she wowed the audience in Harral Auditorium with her talent presentation, singing “No Greater Love” by Rachel Lampa.

With the new title comes the role of ambassador for Wayland, a position Watson is excited to have.

“I think Miss Wayland is a role model and sets the standard for the university,” she said. “She shows off our school, not just here but all over the world. She’s the one who sells the school off-campus too, just being a good Christian example.”

Though it’s a huge order to fill, Watson said she feels ready to tackle the role with God’s help. But she admits that she was not even sure at first she wanted to compete in the pageant.

“I wasn’t really into pageants, but I prayed about it and felt like God wanted me to do this, whether to win or just to learn more about myself and about other people on campus,” she said. “I feel like I got to meet lots of new people and learn more about me that I didn’t know. I think that God wanted to show me things through the practices, too.”

Watson said through it all – the late night rehearsals, the mock interviews, the dance lessons – she vowed from the start to just be true to herself and not put on a mask that was not who she was. She feels God rewarded her honesty.

“It feels wonderful to know that this was God’s plan for this to happen,” she said. “I know that God can use me in this. He’s been using me all along, but this is something big.”

It came as somewhat of a surprise to Watson that she placed in the top five, then she admitted pure shock when she heard another name called as first runner-up, meaning she had just won the pageant.

“I wasn’t thinking I was going to win. I felt like everybody was as good as me; any girl there was deserving of it,” she said. “They were all great girls. I thought the competition would be very hard.”

Though Watson is in her second year at Wayland, she’s no stranger to the university. Having grown up in Plainview, she knew the school through her father Rodney, who finished his degree in 1985, and through several aunts and uncles, Richard, Dale and Genene Grisham, all of whom attended.

Since coming to the university on her own, she’s worked for the yearbook staff and now works in the admissions office at Wayland. She is active in the Student Alumni Council, a student organization that works with the alumni office to plan and carry out homecoming. 

Finishing out Watson’s court are first runner-up Amanda Murray, a senior from Littlefield; second runner-up Jessica Riemersma, a junior from Glendale, Ariz.; third runner-up Tiffany Wisenbaker, a sophomore from New Caney; and fourth runner-up Julia Morrison, a sophomore from Turkey.

Individual category awards  –  which cannot be awarded to the winner or first runner-up  –  were presented to Kendra Ortego, a sophomore from Marble Falls, for Best Interview; to Wisenbaker for Best Evening Gown; and to Morrison for Best Talent. The contestants voted Murray as Miss Congeniality.

Watson is the 37th young woman to win the Miss Wayland Pageant, which is coordinated by the Office of Student Activities. She makes appearances at service clubs and other events and helps coordinate the next year’s pageant in which she crowns her successor.