Monday, September 3, 2007

Congratulations to Erica Gelhaus, the National Sweetheart!

Ohio’s Erica Gelhaus bested 30 other state ruuners-up to win the National Sweetheart Pageant! She also won both Swimsuit and Talent preliminary awards. Congrats to her, this is very exciting!

I believe this was only Erica's third pageant; she won her first local, Miss Lake Festival, and then went on to be named First Runner-up at Miss Ohio. She is a second year Music Performance major at Otterbein College; her platform is Youth Literacy.

Other Sweetheart Awards:

1st Runner-up: Michingan's Ashlee Baracy
2nd Runner-up: Louisiana's Jennifer Soileau (Prelim Swimsuit winner)
3rd Runner-up: The District of Columbia's Michelle Crosby
4th Runner-up: Georgia's Caitlin Andrews (Prelim Talent winner)

Overall Swimsuit Award: Louisiana's Jennifer Soileau
Overall Interview Award: Louisiana's Jennifer Soileau
Overall Talent: Georgia's Caitlin Andrews
Non-Finalist Talent Award: New Hampshire's Natalie Shaw
Miss Congeniality: New Mexico's Sherry McDowell
Producers Award: Utah's Sarah Pettit

CLICK HERE for a brief news article.

Erica is Ohio’s third Sweetheart winner, following Irene Meyer in 1957 and Judy Duncan in 1964. Ohio’s Miss America’s are Susan Perkins (1978), Laurel Lea Schaefer (1972), Jacquelyn Mayer (1963), Marilyn Meseke (1938) and Mary Katherine Campbell (1922 and 1923). Other national winners from the buckeye state are Miss USA 1965 Sue Ann Downey, Miss USA 1981 Kim Seelbrede and Miss Teen USA 2005 Allie LaForce..

(National Sweetheart winners get a $1,000 scholarship, but other than that this pageant serves as a good time and good experience. The winner does not advance to another pageant nor does she have responsibilities as Miss Sweetheart, in fact, some of the contestants who competed this weekend had already won a local title in their state. 22 of the past 30 Sweetheart winners have gone on to win their state title; between these statistics and the fact that Erica is only 19, her chances look great, but as we know of pageants, anything can happen.)


  1. Erica was a contestant in the 2006 Ohio Junior Miss Program and was a finalist.

  2. I think its also important to note that many National Sweetheart winners go on to do very well at Miss America. Leanza Cornett, Tara Dawn Hollard, Debbye Turner, Carolyn Sapp, and Elizabeth Ward all went on to win Miss America after winning National Sweatheart. Many others have placed very high. There is a list on Wikipedia. I think Ohio should be very proud of Erica. This is quite an accomplishment!


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