Amanda Longacre's tenure as Miss Delaware was short-lived.
The Bear resident was crowned June 14, but she has since been disqualified for being too old. The Miss America Organization says contestants must be 17 to 24 years old, and Longacre will turn 25 in October.
First runner-up Brittany Lewis, 24, was crowned in a brief ceremony at the Dover Downs Hotel Casino Thursday. Longacre isn't going down with a fight, however. The pageant queen insists that she signed her contract, with her age and birthday clearly stated, and a member of the board signed off on that contract on a local, state and national level. On Tuesday, she was notified that her age was an issue.
Longacre will not able to compete in the Miss America Pageant in September. In addition to being stripped of her title, she loses all prizes associated with that title, including an $11,000 scholarship.
So what happened? "Following the Miss Delaware Pageant, it was determined that Amanda Longacre exceeded the age requirement in order to be eligible to compete. Therefore, the Miss Delaware 2014 title is awarded to Brittany Lewis," the organization said in a press release Thursday. "The Miss Delaware Pageant is proud to congratulate Brittany and wishes Amanda the very best on her future endeavors."
Adding to her Longacre's heartbreak? The Miss Delaware website, where she was pictured among many other contestants early Thursday, removed any trace of her later that afternoon. Offering a vague explanation, it said, "The Miss Delaware Website is currently being updated. Please check back soon."
Longacre appeared via satellite on NBC's Today Friday to discuss her dismissal.
"I am so, like, really upset," she said. "I'm left here wondering why I was put in this position to begin with." She reiterated that she provided officials with the proper materials, including a birth certificate.
"It's like they're trying to erase me in a way, like it never happened, and it's not fair because I won outright and I deserve to represent my state," she said. "I want this chance still to go to Miss America."
Longacre is working with an attorney to explore her options. Asked how it felt to see Lewis wearing her crown, she cried. "It really hurts because when your peers vote you for Miss Congeniality and you work so hard to get to this position...I haven't been doing pageants for very long. This is all brand new to me. I was approached to compete after I competed in another system. "I've just been competing since the end of November of last year," Longacre said. "I have not been competing in pageants for very long."
Though she's heartbroken, Longacre is doing her best to stay positive. "I really just want to tell everyone that I appreciate all the support I'm getting," she said. "It's really lifting my spirits up right now."
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