March Madness 2018 Girls Opening RoundJust one short year ago, we launched March Madness baby names 2017, a contest that ultimately resulted in gentle nature name Wren joining the elite group of names that have been voted readers’ favorite over the years.

In order to enter the contest, a name must be among the most-viewed in the prior calendar year. That makes for a quirky set of contenders, mixing pop culture favorites with headline-worthy choices and a few steadily great names, too.

A few of these have competed in prior years. Sabine, Anouk, Vesper, Elowen, and Faye are among the names that started out in our 2017 contest, too. But some are making their debut in 2018’s March Madness, most notably the regal Leia.

The past winners, however, tend towards the more mainstream. Here’s the list:

  • Louisa in 2011
  • Genevieve in 2012
  • Isla in 2013
  • Cora in 2014 and 2015
  • Sylvie in 2016
  • Wren in 2017

Following Cora’s back-to-back wins, we decided that no name could defend the title. That means that a few names were ruled out of this year’s competition.

But there’s no shortage of contenders. Let’s take a look at this year’s contestants, and get ready to vote in the March Madness baby names opening round: girls’ edition!

March Madness 2018: Rumi v. Anouk

Two international mini-names compete, the name of Beyonce’s new daughter versus a literary French twist on Anne.

March Madness 2018: Phryne v. Sabine

Two rarities face off: Phryne of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries fame, and the glittering, international Sabine.

March Madness 2018: Marigold v. Elodie

Up-and-coming nature name Marigold squares off against the lovely, French Elodie.

March Madness 2018: Leia v. Vesper

Call it the space race: Star Wars heroine Leia takes on Vesper, the evening star.

March Madness 2018: Zosia v. Eliza

Quirky Zosia or classic Eliza?

March Madness 2018: Sloane v. Esme

Two modern favorites duke it out: sleek Sloane and romantic Esme.

March Madness 2018: Maisie v. Faye

Sassy, sweet, and retro, too! They sound like sisters, but you can only choose Maisie or Faye!

March Madness 2018: Noa v. Elowen

Lively Noa takes on gentle Elowen.

The Opening Round will narrow the sixteen favorite names to eight. We’ll then proceed to four, and finally two names, which will face off in the Final Round on March 24th.

Voting will remain open through Thursday, March 8th. Check back on Saturday, March 10th for the quarter finals round and see which of your favorites advance. Any guesses as to which name will win it all?

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


    1. It’s easily my favorite as well, but I’m hoping it doesn’t win, because I don’t want it to rise (for reasons)!

  1. What a beautiful crop this year! Anouk, Vesper and Zosia are my faves, but my money’s on Elodie or Esme.

  2. Elodie is my favourite here, but I predict Esme will win. Great start to March! Thanks, as always.

    1. My eye is on Esme, too! Elodie has been in a BUNCH of March Madnesses, and always gets knocked out. Don’t know why, because I love it.