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Miss Nebraska Wins 2011 Miss America Pageant

Miss America

Jan. 15: Teresa Scanlan, Miss Nebraska, is crowned Miss America 2011 during the Miss America pageant in Las Vegas. (AP)

LAS VEGAS -- A 17-year-old from Nebraska became the youngest winner of the Miss America crown in 90 years on Saturday after beating 52 other young women from across the United States.

Teresa Scanlan won a $50,000 scholarship and a yearlong run with the crown at the competition Saturday night at the Planet Hollywood casino-resort in Las Vegas, giving the Cornhusker State its first-ever win at the pageant.

She was the youngest Miss America since the pageant's first competition in 1921, when Margaret Gorman of the District of Columbia won at age 15.

Miss Arkansas Alyse Eady won $25,000 as first runner-up, while Miss Hawaii Jalee Fuselier won $20,000 for third place.

Scanlan, a recent high school graduate from the western Nebraska town of Gering, planned to study American politics at Patrick Henry College in Virginia after her reign as Miss America.

She also hoped to attend law school, become a judge and eventually a politician, according to her pageant biography.

Scanlan won after strutting in a black bikini and a white evening gown, playing "White Water Chopped Sticks" on piano and telling the audience that when it comes to Wikileaks, security should come before public access to government information.

"You know when it came to that situation it was actually based on espionage, and when it comes to the security of our nation, we have to focus on security first and then people's right to know, because it's so important that everybody who's in our borders is safe and so we can't let things like that happen and they must be handled properly," she said.

The pageant celebrated its 90th anniversary this year.

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