Miss Metro St. Louis Brittney Sears chosen first runner-up
This year was her fourth year on Miss Missouri's Outstanding Teen stage, her last chance to compete in the contest, and her year to walk away with the crown. Miss St. Charles Outstanding Teen Shelby Steingraeber is Miss Outstanding Teen 2012.
Steingraeber started competing in Miss Missouri's Teen competition in the eighth grade and placed in the top five each year. Twice she represented Miss Metro St. Louis organizations and once she was Miss Gateway St. Louis. After her win Friday, the high school senior said she "owes a lot" to the locals she represented.
Hearing her name called left her speechless, Steingraeber said.
"I didn't even know what to say. My mind went blank. There are no words to say how I feel, or how I felt when they put that crown on my head. I'm just thankful," she said.
Steingraeber said the pageant is so much more than what you see on stage. "The fact that the judges thought that I could fit that role is really humbling, and I'm so very, very thankful," she said.
As Miss Teen, Steingraeber said her immediate goals are to continue her advocacy for the United Way of St. Louis – something she's been involved in since age 14. Her "lifelong mission and passion" is to support children who are in crisis.
Twenty-seven young ladies began the night in the running for the Outstanding Teen crown, but the field quickly narrowed to 10. Those in the top 10 were Miss Spirit of St. Louis Ashley Cummins, Miss Laclede Katie Whipple, Miss Gateway St. Louis Tess Mandoli, Miss Lake of the Ozarks Savanah Moore, Miss River City Charlee Bisch, Miss Branson Hannah Eastin, Miss Metro St. Louis Brittney Sears, Miss Heartland Jacqueline Janorschke, and Miss Springfield Cheyenne Parks.
The top 10 finalists again performed their talents, answered on-stage questions and participated in an active wear competition to narrow the field again, by half.
Along with Steingraeber, finishing in the top five were Sears (first runner-up), Mandoli (second runner-up), Eastin (third runner-up) and Bisch (fourth runner-up). Mandoli also won the People's Choice Award.
Steingraeber will join winners from 49 other states, the District of Columbia and the U.S Virgin Islands in the Miss America's Outstanding Teen competition Aug.14-18 in Orlando, Fla. Accompanying Steingraeber to the event will be her Little Princess Anna Auwarter.
It's every girl's dream to be Miss America, and Steingraeber said it is her desire to enter into the Miss Missouri competition and then "the skies the limit."