Meet the new queens of Connecticut

It’s been a long journey for the new Miss Connecticut, Eliza Lynne Kanner of Hamden.

Kanner has a long history– 17 years– as part of the Miss Connecticut system, she said after the pageant. She had competed as an Outstanding Teen, representing the village of Milldale and the University of New Haven. Last year, she competed for Miss Connecticut as Miss Shoreline.

She finally won as Miss Fairfield County.

“It was incredible to be crowned by Alyssa Taglia (Miss Connecticut 2016 of Wolcott). “She has been my mentor for the past 10 years.”

“It was an incredible moment,” said Kanner.

Kanner said she can’t wait for Miss America in Atlantic City, N.J. and meet the contestants from across America. But that’s not all the crown means to her.

“I’m looking forward to being an ambassador for the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center,” said Kanner.

CCMC is part of the Children’s Miracle Network, the official charity for the Miss America Organization, which includes Miss Connecticut.

“While serving as Miss Connecticut, I will also be the co-executive director for Huskython (at the University of Connecticut), which is our 18-hour dance marathon== we’re on goal to raising $1 million for the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center,” said Kanner.

The top five for Miss Connecticut also included: First runner-up, Miss Middlesex County Savannah Giammarco of Middletown; second runner-up was Miss Nutmeg Jo Jo Shield of Watertown; third runner-up was Miss Southington Bridget Oei of Hebron; and fourth runner-up was Miss Wolcott Alyssa Anderson of Wolcott.

A stay in the hospital had Brooke Cyr wondering if she was going to make it to this year’s Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen Scholarship Pageant at all.

But Cyr, who competed as Miss Naugatuck Valley’s Outstanding Teen, did make it to this weekend’s competition in Hartford.

And as luck would have it, third time was the charm for the Waterbury 15-year-old.

She is the 2017 Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen.

Cyr, a rising junior at Holy Cross High School in Waterbury, was one of 18 contestants at the competition held in the Connecticut Convention Center. Contestants were judged on private interview with the judges, on-stage question, talent, evening gown, and lifestyle and fitness.

“It’s incredible,” said Cyr after the pageant was complete. “I’m still trying to process it.”

This was Cyr’s third attempt at the crown. And when she won, and someone backstage told her, ‘You are Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen, Cyr said she was still in disbelief.

The victory Saturday came after a stay at Connecticut Children’s Medical, which raised doubts about whether she would even be able to make the pageant, Cyr said.

“It took a lot to get here this year,” Cyr said.

The hospitalization forced Cyr to prepare for the pageant in just two months rather than the much longer period she originally allotted for herself.

“To know it all paid off is just amazing,” Cyr said.

Now that she has won the crown, Cyr said her first step is to prepare for Miss America’s Outstanding Teen pageant in Orlando, Fla. at the end of July.

“My main goal is to extend my platform (‘Building a World of Less MS’– Bank On It’),” said Cyr.

Cyr also said she will be promoting the Outstanding Teen program, which has helped her grow as an individual.

“I really want to get more girls involved in this because when I first joined, I was shy,” said Cyr. “This organization made me who I am and I want that for other girls as well.”

The other members of the top five at the Outstanding Teen pageant were: first runner-up, Miss Trumbull’s Outstanding Teen Allison Duffy of Burlington; second runner-up, Miss Newtown’s Outstanding Teen Elle Sauli; third runner-up, Miss Plantsville’s Outstanding Teen Taylor Plourde of Bristol; fourth runner-up, Miss Mountain Laurel’s Outstanding Teen, Ariana Puglisi (who also was the People’s Choice winner).