Fletcher Page of the Athens (Ga.) Banner-Herald took first place in the Associated Press Sports Editors contest in the column writing category in the Under-30,000 circulation category for his entry of five columns published in 2015.

Page will be presented a first-place plaque at the 2016 APSE banquet. The banquet and awards dinner concludes the APSE Conference June 22-25 at the Omni-Charlotte in Charlotte, N.C.

Balloting by six APSE judges ranked Page ahead of runner-up Mark Selig of the Columbia Missourian and third-place finisher Duane Rankin of the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser. The contest is open to APSE members. Click here to join.

Sports editors in the Under 30,000 circulation category submitted a total of 55 breaking news entries written or directed by APSE member sports departments in 2015. Contest chair and APSE first vice president Tommy Deas 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 late February-early March at Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., preliminary judges selected a top 10 ranked, with each judge listing the stories in order from 1 to 10 separately on a secret ballot. The final 10 were given to a second judging group, which also ranked the entries 1-10 in the same fashion. The winner and final rankings are determined by tallying the ballots, giving a team 10 points for a first-place vote, nine points for second and so on down to 1 point for a 10th-place vote.

The top 10 is listed below with links to writers’ Twitter pages, APSE member websites and winning entries.

1. Fletcher Page, Athens (Ga.) Banner-Herald, 47 points

Former Bulldogs have a network for life

Andy Landers: ‘The more you care, the more they care back’

UGA’s Schott in the dark decisions at QB keep missing

For Coach Link, the view must be fantastic

After a painful journey, a single pitch helps make a dream come true


2. Mark Selig, Columbia Missourian, 43 points, 3 first-place votes

The Michael Porter Jr. experience is must-see action

Just like her: Columbia girl meets basketball hero Zach Hodskins

Meet ‘the other’ Kim Anderson

Alden’s legacy highlighted by growth, but missteps should be more than just footnotes

Missouri’s “Takeover” made new memories of the old


3. Duane Rankin, Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser, 37 points, 1 first-place votes

Saban, Malzahn could make big impact regarding flag

Proud parents celebrate son’s MVP performance

Boyd keeps fumbling on ASU football

Alabama fueling Bielema, Razorbacks

Pondering Iron Bowl thoughts during game


4. Mike DeFabo, Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, Ill.), 35 points

Marengo softball’s unofficial official scorekeeper always has a good seat

Marengo fans show up to celebrate season to remember

Hampshire’s Barnett says goodbye to coaching after ‘good run’

Huntley’s Andrews wills team to sectional title

Johnsburg wrestling celebrates Jarett Wolff’s survival on emotional night


5. Don Williams, Lubbock (Texas) Avalanche-Journal, 34 points, 1 first-place vote

Mayfield needs to quit playing politics and just play

Will Texas Tech’s IPF be worth the cost?

Here to stay: Kliff Kingsbury’s not on the hot seat; his contract assures it

All atwitter: Bethel’s social media words spark fuss

Mahomes proved himself as answer to Kingsbury’s quarterback problem


6. Cecil Hurt, The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News, 33 points

Sunshine is gone, but the team will move forward

History has its place, but not atop a flagpole

Young people, no matter how big and strong, can have problems

Something has to change for Alabama basketball

No one was quite like Kenny Stabler


7. Peter Jackel, The Journal Times (Racine, Wisc.), 32 points

NBA veteran calls retired sergeant ‘guardian angel’ for decision in 1998 drug raid

Lucroy restores bounce in Radke’s step

My wife lived a life worth celebrating

The lure of sports dulls our perspective

Bo’s time in Racine was vital


8. Jeremy Price, The Herald Times (Bloomington, Ind.), 29 points

Life was a dance for Brian Jones

Patience, not news conferences, a virtue

No more knuckleheads necessary at IU

Stop me if you’ve heard this before…

Too many unknowns temper expectations for Hoosiers


9. Bobby La Gesse, Ames (Iowa) Tribune, 22 points, 1 first-place vote

ISU tourney loss goes beyond a nightmare

Hoiberg’s closing number bring closure

How Annie Pollard helped save the life of her dad, Jamie Pollard

Rhoads couldn’t keep big moments coming

Paul Rhoads the son comes out at Alzheimer’s events


10. Justin Pelletier, Sun Journal (Lewiston,Maine), 13 points

Together, continued change is possible

‘The’ Academy is in session

Gillies family dynasty alive and well

Lewiston Blue Devils girls’ hockey cooks up another winner

Providence persevered, against all odds