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Miss New Jersey Injured In Miss America Preliminary Contest

September 12, 1985

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) _ Miss New Jersey Toni Georgiana will continue competing in the Miss America Pageant despite a knee injury she suffered during the talent segment of the preliminary competition, a state pageant official said today.

″She’s a champion all the way,″ said Nathan Zauber, director of the Miss New Jersey Pageant.

He said Miss Georgiana would probably attend rehearsals today and Friday on crutches to rest her left knee, but would not skip any part of her schedule.

Miss Georgiana bruised the knee cap Wednesday during the final moves of her performance, the ballet sequence ″Slaughter On 10th Avenue″ from the George Gershwin musical ″On Your Toes.″

The professional dancer completed her routine before hobbling off stage where she was met by supporters. Miss Georgiana was attended briefly by pageant physician James Gleason before being taken to the Atlantic City Medical Center, where he knee was X-rayed.

Pageant spokeswoman Karen Aaronson said rest and treatments with ice packs were recommend.

Miss America officials said there were no rules governing a case in which a contestant was unable to compete.

Miss Georgiana, 21, was scheduled to compete in the swimsuit preliminaries today and in the evening gown segment on Friday. She has already completed her seven-minute interview with the panel of judges.

She reached the national pageant after surviving a court battle this summer during which Laura Ann Bridges, the first runner-up in the state pageant, sought to have Miss Georgiana stripped of her crown.

Miss Bridges, a dental student at Fairleigh Dickinson University, had charged that Miss Georgiana was never eligible to participate in the state pageant. Miss Georgiana, until recently a Pennsylvania resident, had registered for a two-week summer course at Trenton State College to meet eligibility requirements. She never attended classes because she said she was too busy preparing for the state contest after becoming Miss Mercer County.

Miss Bridges, reached at her Jersey City home Wednesday night, said she felt sorry for Miss Georgiana. But she said she still felt that ″it’s a shame she got to be Miss New Jersey the way she did.″

Miss Bridges said she was be ready to fill in for Miss Georgiana if pageant officials asked her, but added that she would not want to profit from her misfortune.

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