By Paula Wethington

It must have been quite a disappointment for local fans to not hear any of the Monroe County names called off in Muskegon when the top 10 teen contestants were announced Wednesday night at the Miss Michigan Outstanding Teen finals.

Of the 34 girls competing at the teen level, five were from Monroe County.

The competition was tight this year, based on reports that Lisha Arino is filing for the Muskegon Chronicle and what Miss Michigan 2011 Elizabeth Wertenberger has posted on her social medial accounts.

Miss Monroe County pageant executive director Dione Oerther often tells contestants in rehearsals and in the pageant fan emails to “leave it all on the stage.” Her message is to do the absolutely best you can. The rest is up to the judges.

So what happens as the competition field goes from top 15 or top 10 to the top 5 and then the final two?

The hope is that the contestants who were cut will be happy for a friend who wins.

There is a lot of behind-the-scenes efforts in the Miss America Organization to encourage the contestants to become friends. This includes roommate matchups during state and national pageant week; and appearances at the local, state and national levels in which all contestants get to enjoy attention from pageant sponsors and fans.

As far as the fans in the audience go, “sit back and enjoy the show,” as long-time pageant volunteer Bobb Vergiels said in a voice mail message to me last night when he realized there were no more local names to listen for.

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