The 22-year-old said that she was “excited” to be on the competition stage in Atlantic City, N.J., but was thinking of home.
“My heart is absolutely with the people of Houston,” Wood told reporters after the show, according to the Associated Press. “I send my love to all of them. We’re taking it day by day.”
Wood won the swimsuit round of the competition, while Miss Utah JessiKate Riley won the talent portion with her violin solo.
Though Wood’s home was safe from the flooding that damaged at least 49,000 houses in the state, she said that her friends and neighbors weren’t as fortunate.
“We were in an extremely lucky pocket that wasn’t flooded,” she told Fox News. “And I say lucky because six blocks around us, everything was flooded. So I had a lot of family and friends that were impacted by the flood.”
Wood also quashed queries about whether she was trying to curry favor with the judges by talking about the hurricane.
“It was very important for me to let everyone know that my heart is still in Houston,” she said. “I also didn’t want everyone to think that Miss Texas should win Miss America because of the storm. I want to become Miss America because the judges believe in me and believe I can do the job. Not because of a sympathy vote or anything.”