Miss Ohio misses the cut

HOWLAND – Howland resident and reigning Miss Ohio Heather Wells made it to the 2014 Miss America Competition Sunday in Atlantic City, N.J.

However, the Howland High School and Kent State University graduate was not named among the 12 finalists.

Wells was the second Miss Ohio in recent years to come from Trumbull County. Amanda Beagle – also a Howland grad – was crowned in 2004.

While still a child, Wells began competing in fair pageants to show off her dance routines. She made six attempts at the Miss Ohio title, starting competition as a high school senior.

Her grandmother, Doris Watkins, 70, of Warren, recently recalled watching Wells win at competitions at the Eastwood Mall or local fairs. Wells and her mother moved in with Watkins after Wells’ parents divorced when she was about 3 years old, something that played into her platform as a Miss America hopeful.

Wells holds a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and is pursuing a master’s degree in nutrition from Kent State University. She plans to become a registered nutritionist and hopes to work as a health correspondent for a news network.

As Miss Ohio, Wells received a $10,000 scholarship from Newman Technology and a vehicle for her year of service from Graham Automall.

The 53 contestants – one from each state as well as Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District Of Columbia – received scores in categories including talent, swimwear and evening wear, and onstage interviews.

Miss Kansas, the tattooed Army sergeant, and the injured Miss Florida, wearing a bejeweled knee brace, were among contestants advancing to the semi-finals of Sunday’s Miss America finale in Atlantic City, as the pageant returned to where it began in 1921.

Other states whose contestants advanced to the semi-finals were: Maryland, Connecticut, Missouri, Oklahoma, New York, Wisconsin, Texas, California, Georgia and Minnesota.

The pageant pits 53 the contestants in swimsuit, evening gown, talent and interview competitions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.