By John Bednarowski, APSE Fourth Vice President

Brian Davis, who covers the University of Texas for the Austin American Statesman, took first place in the Associated Press Sports Editors 2014 contest for Beat Writing in the 75,001-175,000 circulation category.

Davis, whose five-story entry highlighted his work on the Texas football and basketball beat, will be presented a first-place plaque at the 2015 APSE banquet. The banquet and awards dinner concludes the APSE Conference June 24-27 at The Westgate Hotel in San Diego, Calif.

Davis received one of six first-place votes from APSE judges, who ranked him ahead of runner-up Dick Chatelain of the Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald and third place Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The top 10 is listed below with links to each writer’s Twitter page and available entries.

Sports editors in the 75,001 to 175,000 circulation category submitted a total of 53 Beat Writing entries from APSE member sports departments in 2014. Contest catchers numbered each entry, assuring they had been stripped of headlines, graphics, bylines and any other element that would identify the writer or news organization.

The contest is open to APSE members. Go to this link to join.

In early February, preliminary judges at the APSE Winter Conference in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., selected a top 10, with each judge ranking the entries in order from 1 to 10 separately on a secret ballot. Entries were given 10 points for a first-place vote, nine points for second and so on down to 1 point for a 10th-place vote. The final 10 were given to a second judging group, which ranked the entries 1-10 in the same fashion. The winner and final rankings are determined by tallying the ballots.

The Beat Writing category recognizes the most authoritative, newsy and innovative coverage of a beat during 2014. Each APSE member news organization was permitted to submit up to two entries of five stories each. Each entry consisted of at least one breaking news story, one event or game coverage, one enterprise piece and two wild-card stories that could include a blog post.

Here are the top 10, listed in order of finish:  

  1.  Brian Davis, Austin American Statesman, 53 points, 1 first-place vote

Texas’ Joe Wickline suing Oklahoma State, claiming he’s UT’s play-caller

Longhorns survive on Ridley’s buzzer-beater

UT athletic adviser approved university purchases from store she owns

Texas football team drug testing rate doubles under Charlie Strong

Patterson says UT to start focusing on endowed scholarships

  1.  Dirk Chatelain, Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald, 48 points, 2 first-place votes

Pelini slams Eichorst in vulgar talk during final meeting with players, says A.D. ‘has no integrity’

Cat’s out of the bag on Mike Nobler, court jester in Bo Pelini’s kingdom

Bryant family history comes full circle, but not in Nebraska red

Chatelain: Miles, Riley and the lessons of losing

Chatelain: Riley just an ordinary, average Husker head football coach

  1.  Derrick Goold, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 47 points, 1 first-place vote

No links

  1.   Samuel McKewon, Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald, 34 points, 1 first-place vote

New Husker coach Mike Riley brings a caring nature to a brutal game

Husker players embrace yoga as part of new training

NU puts heat on Miami: Abdullah, Huskers play with passion on emotional night

Campus ban keeps Avery Moss off football team for 2014

McKewon: NU offense not built for big Novembers

  1.  Jim Wyatt, The Tennessean, 33 points, 1 first-place vote

Titans, friends grieve loss of Rob Bironas

Rob Bironas’ family wants answers

Zach Mettenberger can’t save Titans

Tennessee Titans fire head coach Mike Munchak

Worst Titans season ever? Sure looks like it

T-6. Jeff Greer, Louisville Courier-Journal, 26 points

Louisville players struggle to cope with end to season

Russ Smith frustrated by NBA draft, ready to start

Louisville baseball’s biggest fan is one of the guys

U of L makes history with win on Irish’s turf

T-6.  Hal Habib, Palm Beach Post, 26 points

NFL report: Richie Incognito, other linemen harassed Dolphins’ Jonathan Martin

Ravens beat Dolphins 28-13, putting severe dent in their playoff hopes

Miami Dolphins’ Stephen Ross still trying to win as an NFL owner

Miko Grimes, wife of Miami Dolphins’ Brent Grimes, embraces spotlight

Ex-Dolphins Larry Csonka, Mercury Morris, Jim Kiick subject of special

  1.  Mike Harrington, The Buffalo News, 25 points

Sabres’ Grigorenko balking at junior move

Sabres have a fighting chance but fall in overtime

Formulas for success: Everyone jumping on board with analytics

Sabres’ situation is as clear as mud

Kane takes a walk of fame

T-9. Jason Wolf, The News Journal (Wilmington, Del.), 19 points

Jason Wolf: Tom Gola, the height of Philadelphia basketball

76ers GM Sam Hinkie embraces patience, privacy in rebuilding effort

Aquille Carr, 87ers not the ‘best fit right now’

76ers snap 26-game losing streak, thrash Pistons

Stint with 87ers ‘huge’ part of Kendall Marshall’s road back to NBA

T-9. Steve Popper, The Record (Woodland Park, N.J.), 19 points

Popper: Cleveland embraces LeBron upon his return

Commentary: Phil Jackson in power struggle over Knicks with owner James Dolan

Knicks hope to open right on offense

Carmelo Anthony (knee) sits out loss to Bulls

Knicks, James Dolan can’t handle the truth

(John Bednarowski is sports editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal. Contact him at