Leesburg woman loses Miss Florida crown as pageant admits judging error

Leesburg's Elizabeth Fechtel, center, is shown as the winner of the Miss Florida pageant. The newly declared winner, Victoria Cowen, is second from the left.
Leesburg’s Elizabeth Fechtel, center, is shown as the winner of the Miss Florida pageant. The newly declared winner, Victoria Cowen, is second from the left.

Leesburg’s Elizabeth Fechtel has lost her Miss Florida crown in a pageant “judging error.”

Fechtel has been replaced by first runner-up, Victoria Cowen of Panama City. Cowen will now represent the Sunshine State in the Miss America pageant Sept. 14 in Atlantic City

The pageant announced Friday that someone miscounted the votes and the wrong contestant had been crowned Miss Florida.

Fechtel had withdrawn from the University of Florida to prepare for the Miss American competition. At UF she was a student senator and a recruitment chair for her sorority, Alpha Delta Pi.

She had initially been named Miss Florida this past week in St. Petersburg.

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