A Columbus nurse was not among the final 15 for Sunday’s Miss USA competition, but on social media told friends and family that competing accomplished her dream.

“I just competed at Miss USA! Thank you for all of the encouragement and support. I greatly appreciate it. This was one of the best experiences of my life. I have absolutely no regrets whatsoever!” North Vernon native Morgan Abel wrote on her Facebook page after the competition.

“I would not have changed one thing. I stayed true to who I was and made great friends,” Abel wrote of the experience, when she competed against 51 other pageant candidates.

The newly crowned Miss USA is 26-year-old Army officer Deshauna Barber, from the District of Columbia, who will now go on to compete for the title of Miss Universe.

First runnerup was Miss Hawaii USA, Chelsea Hardin. Second runnerup was Miss Georgia, Emanii Jovan Davis.

Selected as Miss Indiana USA last year, Abel is a nurse in the mental health unit at Columbus Regional Hospital. She had a cheering section from Indiana at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas Sunday night for the televised competition on FOX.

A fellow nurse and her roommate, Miss Connecticut, Tiffany Teixeira, was named among the top 10 finalists, but did not make it to the top three.

Abel will relinquish her title in October, when the next Miss Indiana USA pageant is conducted Oct. 22 to 23 at The Palladium in the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel.

Indiana pageant officials sent a congratulatory message on the state pageant website to Abel about her performance Sunday night.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.