By Mike Sherman, APSE President

Dave Eminian of the Peoria (Ill.) Journal Star took first place in the Associated Press Sports Editors 2014 contest in the Breaking News category in the 30,001-75,000 circulation category for his coverage of a gruesome injury to a Huntsville (Ala.) minor league hockey player.

Eminian 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.

Balloting by six APSE judges ranked Eminian ahead of runner-up Brian Linder of the Daytona Beach (Fla.) News-Journal and third-place finisher Chris Thomas of The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss.

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

Sports editors in the over 30,001-to-75,000 circulation category submitted a total of 63 breaking news entries written or directed by APSE member sports departments in 2014. Contest chair Mary Byrne of USA TODAY Sports numbered each entry, assuring they had been stripped of headlines, graphics, bylines and any other element 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 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 breaking news category recognizes the best storyoff a sports news development (trades, hirings, firings, franchise shifts, etc.) that occurred in the most recent news cycle.

Online or print stories are eligible. Judges weighed the various elements of a breaking news story, including timeliness, thoroughness, exclusivity and significance. Cover letters explaining these elements are permitted in this category.

The top 9 is listed below with links to writers’ Twitter pages and entries.

1. Dave Eminian, Peoria (Ill.) Journal Star, 56 points, 3 first-place votes

 Rivermen game halted after opponent suffers gruesome injury

2. Brian Linder, Daytona Beach (Fla.) News-Journal, 47 points, 2 first-place votes

 Dustin Holyko dropped by World Series of Fighting for criminal record, ‘offensive tattoos’

3. Chris Thomas, The Clarion Ledger (Jackson, Miss.), 44 points

 Former Murrah coach, accused of whipping players, in trouble again

4. Andy Bitter, The Roanoke (Va.) Times, 43 points

 Source: Bud Foster signs new five-year contract with Virginia Tech

5. Scott Walsh, The Times-Tribune (Scranton, Pa.), 33 points

IndyCar future at Pocono in jeopardy

6. (tie) Chadd Cripe and Brian Murphy, Idaho Statesman, 29 points

Albertsons, it’s your stadium: Boise State venue gets new name

(tie) Kellis Robinett, The Wichita Eagle, 29 points

Kansas State to announce $50 million upgrade to football stadium

8.  Bob Rathgerber, The News-Press (Fort Myers, Fla.), 22 points

Spring Training: Expanded instant replay happens first at Hammond

9.  John Boyette, The Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle, 18 points

Masters landmark Ike’s Tree suffers major damage, removed

(Mike Sherman is sports editor of The Oklahoman and president of APSE. Contact him at or 405-475-3164).