MOBILE, Ala. -- Valerie Lowrance, the Texas teenager crowned America's Junior Miss 1985, says her victory is shared with 51 'best friends' and she cannot wait to visit other states to promote 'the greatest program there is.'
Fifty-two girls competed to succeed Minnesota's Amber Kvanli, but it was the tall 18-year-old brunette from Seguin High School in Seguin, Texas, who won the 28th annual title and $25,000 scholarship Friday night.
Lona Williams of Minnesota was awarded a $10,000 scholarship as runner-up, and South Carolina's Anna Whitesides won $7,000 as second runner-up.
'I immediately felt shock take over my whole body,' Lowrance said about her victory. 'You know, this past week I became best friends with 51 girls from all across the nation, and I felt like they were all winners.
'I was their equal, they were my equal, and I didn't know how the judges were going to be able to choose one girl from among all of us.
'I feel tremendous pride and tremendous happiness that I was chosen to be the representative of them as well as the United States,' she said, 'and I hope I can make them proud. ... This is the greatest program there is.'
Former Olympic hero Bruce Jenner and actress Mary Frann, America's Junior Miss 1961, hosted the nationally televised event.
Lowrance won the overall physical fitness competition Friday night, adding to a $500 award for a preliminary victory in scholastic achievement. More than $100,000 in scholarships and prizes were awarded this year.
Nevada's Terri Ivens, one of the five finalists, won Friday's creative and performing arts competition by singing a medley of patriotic tunes called 'My Tribute to America.' The other finalist was Dee Dee Patterson of Mississippi.