By Mary Byrne, APSE Second Vice President

Mark Selig of the Columbia Missourian took first place in the Associated Press Sports Editors 2014 contest for Columns in the under 30,000 circulation category.

Selig will be presented a first-place plaque at the 2015 APSE banquet on June 27 at The  Westgate Hotel in San Diego, Calif.

Balloting by six APSE judges ranked Selig ahead of runner-up Mike Szvetitz of the Opelika-Auburn News and third-place finisher Joe Walljasper of the Columbia Daily Tribune. The top 10 is listed below with links to writers’ Twitter pages and entries.

Sports editors in the under 30,000 circulation category submitted 54 column entries written or directed by APSE member sports departments in 2014. All entries were stripped of their headlines, bylines and any other elements that would identify the writer or news organization.

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. 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 Column Writing category is judged based on style, writing quality, originality and local appeal. There is no restriction on subject matter and no requirement that the column appears regularly. Each news organization is permitted two entries in this category.

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

2014 APSE Contest: Columns, under 30,000 circulation

(First-place votes in parentheses)

1. Mark Selig, Columbia Missourian, 46 points (1)

Commentary: Maty Mauk’s confidence rubs off on teammates

Trying out to be a Missouri Tiger is no cakewalk on the basketball court

Commentary: Get used to the name Montaque Gill-Caesar sooner rather than later

Commentary: Shamburger showing Anderson’s vision one loose ball at a time …

Commentary: Loss to UMKC proves Anderson has big task ahead of him at Missouri …


2. Mike Szvetitz, Opelika-Auburn News, 43 points (2)

Szvetitz: Philip Lutzenkirchen left a legacy of respect, honor and love

Szvetitz: Jay Jacobs, Bruce Pearl serious about resurrecting Auburn basketball

Szvetitz: Bashing high school recruits for where they choose to sign? Grow up

Szvetitz: Clock strikes midnight on Auburn’s fairy-tale season

Szvetitz: Minimal improvement not significant enough for Tony Barbee at Auburn

3. Joe Walljasper, Columbia Daily Tribune, 41 points (1)

Another sexual-assault scandal should force culture change

Sam, teammates proved gay athlete shouldn’t have to choose secrecy

DGB has run out of chances

Why was Anderson the right pick? It just feels right

A life ends but the stories don’t


4. Duane Rankin, Montgomery Advertiser, 36 points (1)

Commentary: SWAC, NCAA decision dead wrong on postseason tournament: Ineligible teams have no business participating this week in Houston

Commentary: Why is Nick Saban really frustrated right now?

Commentary: Van Hooser’s stock rises after catch

FSU continues to fall short in handling Winston

Commentary: Kiffin’s offense propelled Tide to playoff


5. John Bohnenkamp, The Hawk Eye, 36 points

Todd Hamilton soaks in deafening roar

Mark Farley defiant after loss

Chaos around kick defines latest edition of Cy-Hawk Series

You wait 29 years for a World Series and this happens?

You always get what you deserve in football


6. Scott Chancey, Index-Journal, 34 points

Pink has taken new, powerful meaning in sports world

College of Charleston’s men’s basketball players deserve better

Mother’s Day means more to Rankin

Dixie game ball a real treasure

(Fifth column not available)


7. John Bednarowski, The Marietta Daily Journal, 31 points (1)

Commentary: Changes need to be made to KSU basketball team

Commentary: For Mason, Lutzenkirchen, bond bridged SEC rivalries

Commentary: Time to adjust Corky Kell Classic schedule

Commentary: Ollie is arrogant, and that’s a good thing

Commentary: Local coaches take proactive approach

8. Peter Jackel, The Journal Times (Racine, Wis.), 24 points

No link


9. George Artsitas, The World, 21 points

Belmont provides bonding with Dad

Unexpected bond sticks between two local walkers

Win over Siuslaw provided thrill for Pirates

Thorns are a big hit in Portland

Bowling rule needs to go away


10. Matthew Peaslee, Steubenville Herald-Star, 18 points

Put me in coach, I’m ready (to attempt) to ride

ALS Ice Bucket challenge is freezin’ for a reason

Baseball, Black Bears, oh my!

Weir is set for more soccer success

This time around, James returns for the fans