Miss New Hampshire Samantha Russo was in the national spotlight Sunday night, one of 53 women competing for the title of Miss America in Atlantic City, N.J.
Russo was not chosen as one of the top 15 finalists in the competition, and was eliminated during the first cut.
"We are very, very proud of her," said Brenda Keith, President of the Miss New Hampshire Organization, who attended the live ceremony last night. "She worked very hard this week, and we couldn't be more proud of her. We can't wait to bring her back to New Hampshire and thank everyone for their support this week."
Russo, 23, of Nashua was crowned Miss New Hampshire last April and had busy been prepping for the national pageant ever since. Miss New York was crowned the new Miss America during a two-hour live special on ABC.
Crowned as Miss America was Nina Davuluri, 24, of Syracuse, N.Y., representing New York and the first woman of Indian descent to wear the crown.
Davuluri is a dean's list student at the University of Michigan who plans to attend medical school to become a physician. Her platform issue as Miss America is to celebrate diversity through cultural competency.
Russo, a 2008 graduate of Nashua High School North, was one of 53 women competing for the crown, representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Preliminary competition for the pageant began last Tuesday in Atlantic City, where it was held for decades before moving to Las Vegas six years ago.
Last week, Russo won a $2,000 scholarship in the talent competition, singing the Barbra Streisand song "Don't Rain on My Parade" from the musical "Funny Girl."
On Saturday, Russo took part in the Parade of Shoes, opting for a baseball theme because of a personal connection with Holman Stadium in Nashua. Her shoes were white and bedazzled with red to look like baseball stitches, with the heels made to look like miniature baseball bats.
Russo was showcased at the start of last night's broadcast, where each candidate was introduced saying something about her home state. Russo mentioned that she was from "the state that's home to the first in the nation presidential primary, and I hope to be first on your ballots tonight."
Russo worked as a marketing assistant with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
After being crowned Miss New Hampshire, Russo was awarded a $13,500 scholarship, which went toward paying off her student loans.
She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in broadcast journalism from Emerson College and is pursuing a career in sports journalism.
Russo was vying to become the first New Hampshire woman to win the title of Miss America.