By Jake Knabel, Sports Information Director
The nerves Concordia senior-to-be Melissa McIntosh felt on this particular November day were similar to those she experiences before any of her collegiate golf meets for head coach Brett Muller’s Bulldogs. After all, it had been six years since she last competed in any type of pageant.
“I was really nervous but I think it’s good to be nervous because it shows that you care,” McIntosh said.
Nerves gave way to joy when America’s National Teenager Scholarship Organization (ANTSO) awarded the elementary education major the crown and title of 2014 Nebraska ANTSO National Miss. With that title comes plenty of responsibility as well as scholarship opportunities and a ticket to the national ANTSO pageant set to take place in Nashville, Tenn., July 22-28.
A native of Lincoln, McIntosh will proudly represent The Cornhusker State at the national event.
“I am honored to represent Nebraska,” McIntosh said. “I’ve lived here my whole life and love it here. I wouldn’t want to be on that stage wearing any other state sash.”
McIntosh rose above the others in her age division by winning the competition “focused on today’s all-around girl.” This pageant was about more than simply walking around in heels and a fancy dress. Contestants were judged on six different criteria: interview, evening gown, onstage question, personal expression, academic achievement and community involvement.
No problem for McIntosh, an NAIA Scholar-Athlete who’s quick to lend a hand in just about any way possible. Since winning the crown in November, she’s immersed herself in a laundry list of community outreach activities. She has wrapped Christmas presents for the needy, rang bells for the Salvation Army, visited Girl Scout troops, read to classrooms and worked with the Special Olympics for a variety of different sports. The list goes on.
“I absolutely love it,” McIntosh said. “I’ve been volunteering in the community long before I won the crown and I’ll be involved for the rest of my life. God has really used my volunteer opportunities to transform my heart, which only makes me want to volunteer more.”
Having competed in pageants as early as age six, McIntosh serves as a great role model for younger girls who share her aspirations. The Nebraska ANTSO pageant included age divisions from nine all the way up to 25. Of course McIntosh is always eager to help the younger girls.
“I’ve had the opportunity to get involved with Miss Amazing, a pageant for girls with disabilities,” McIntosh said. “This year I was a buddy so I helped a girl named Amber throughout her pageant day. It was a truly inspiring, humbling and amazing experience. To see every girl there get her shining spotlight moment puts a smile on my face even thinking about it now. I will definitely be volunteering for this in the future because it was a truly amazing event.”
Even with school out for the summer, McIntosh manages a busy schedule that includes a full-time job at a golf course balanced with all of her community work in Seward, Lincoln, Omaha, Schuyler, West Point and other cities and small towns of Nebraska. She also practices her walk for the pageant and is still working on completing all the necessary paperwork.
It’s a lot to handle for sure, but McIntosh wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s all worth it. I love my job and I love the opportunities that are coming my way so I wouldn’t trade it for anything right now.”
Daughter of Dan and Shellie McIntosh, Melissa looks forward to having her family in attendance for the national pageant. The McIntoshes will invade the Music City in late July.
“I think the national pageant is going to be awesome,” McIntosh said. “It’s going to be a week of excitement and events and meeting other queens from across the country – and of course the competition. I’m excited to arrive and for everything to begin. My family is driving to Nashville so we are really excited to spend the time together. No matter what happens with the competition, I am very proud of how far I’ve come and how hard I’ve worked but I am ready to shine on that national stage.”