Miss Goldsboro actually came closer to the Miss North Carolina crown than originally announced when the pageant aired June 24.
The Miss North Carolina organization said over the weekend that the names of the first and second runner-up had been switched on the announcement card, calling it an error by an independent auditor. The scores were correct, officials said, but positioned the finalists in the wrong order.
In the final moments before Victoria Hudgins was named Miss North Carolina 2017, Courtney Smith, Miss Goldsboro, was named second runner-up, followed by Allison Farris as first runner-up.
Things were done a little differently this year with finalists. Instead of the traditional Top 10, with an 11th member of the court being added from "People's Choice" votes online, after that contestant was added, the emcees said there would be a Top 15.
From the start, Miss Smith appeared to be a strong contender.
She had won a preliminary swimsuit award leading up to the televised competition, where she sailed through the Top 15, Top 10 and then Top 5 as the field narrowed closer to the crown. For the talent portion of the contest, she performed a tap dance.
As the broadcast concluded, no mention was made of a mix-up in the finalists' order.
Shirley Proctor, executive director of the Miss Goldsboro pageant, said she was made aware of the corrected results this past Thursday afternoon, having Miss Farris as second runner-up and Miss Smith as first runner-up.
She was notified by the state pageant officials but "had to keep it under wraps," she said.
"Saturday about 1 o'clock, they texted me and said they had spoken to Courtney," she said.
The results have since been corrected and officials indicated over the weekend that the auditors will be changed for the 2018 pageant.
The Miss North Carolina organization also decided to award the first runner-up scholarship package to both Miss Goldsboro and Miss Mount Holly. The $10,000 scholarship for each brings the total awards presented this year to more than $75,000 in cash prizes.
Mrs. Proctor praised the way the Goldsboro contestant handled the situation with grace.
"Courtney has represented Goldsboro beautifully since she was crowned in November," she said. "We couldn't be more proud of her. She has been a wonderful representative for Goldsboro and I really believe she'll be Miss North Carolina one day, maybe not as Miss Goldsboro but she has a bright future."
The shift into first runner-up status is significant not only because of the scholarship package it holds but the potential opportunity it provides for Miss Smith.
"If Miss North Carolina would win Miss America, Courtney would step in as Miss North Carolina if she chose to," Mrs. Proctor explained.
She also pointed out that the status is a nice feather in the cap for this community.
"This is the highest placement for Miss Goldsboro in several years," she said. "We have had several Miss Goldsboros place in the Top 10 in the past six years but none have made the Top 5."
Miss Smith spoke with the News-Argus on Monday. She said she was "thankful and excited" about the opportunity to be first runner-up and is supportive of Miss Hudgins, who is preparing for the Miss America pageant this fall.
"It's really been a great experience," said the 19-year-old. "This is actually my first year competing as a Miss contestant -- I had competed for Miss Outstanding Teen in 2014 then took a year off to prepare for college. I'm actually looking forward to getting back out in Goldsboro and making more appearances in my reign.
"I'm also excited about being part of the Miss North Carolina Class of 2017."