At least Amanda Longrace, who was stripped of her Miss Delaware title because she is three months too old, got to keep her scholarship.
But her crown, a contract for numerous appearances and the chance to compete in the Miss America competition are gone —all because she turns 25 in October. Pageant rules state that Miss Delaware can’t be a woman of a certain age — in this case 25 — before the end of the year.
“I am so, like really upset because I just found out Tuesday that I was stripped of my crown over an age clause that clearly the board of my state didn’t even know about,” Longacre said. “So I am left here wondering why I was put in this position to begin with.”
Longacre broke down in tears on NBC’s “Today” show Friday.
“It really hurts because when your peers vote you for Miss Congeniality and you work so hard to get to this position,” she said.
When pageant officials caught the birthday error, they acted and crowned the first runner-up, Brittany Lewis, also 24, but for the rest of the year.
“It was determined that Amanda Longacre exceeded the age requirement in order to be eligible to compete,” the Miss Delaware organization said in a statement.
The pageant on Thursday posted on Facebook a status wishing Longacre “well on her future endeavors.” The post also included a headshot of Lewis that congratulated her on being crowned Miss Delaware 2014.
“It’s not fair because I won outright,” Longacre said on the show. “And I deserve to represent my state and I want this chance still to go to Miss America.”
The Miss America Organization said in a statement that Longacre would retain the approximately $9,000 scholarship awarded to her, and that Lewis would also receive a scholarship.
Longacre said she was discussing options with a lawyer because the error was the organization’s fault. She said she provided them with her birth certificate and driver’s license before competing and was told that she was eligible. Her attorney Mark Billion of Wilmington, Del., did not respond to a request for an interview.
“We understand the impact that news of this type may have on these women and each of these state organizations and the great concern that goes with it,” said the Miss America Organization.
It was also announced Friday that the Miss Florida title had been wrongly awarded due to a “tabulation error” on a judge’s score sheet. The title was revoked from Elizabeth Fechtel, who was crowned six days ago, and given to the first runner-up, Victoria Cowen.
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