Geoff Calkins of The Commercial Appeal (Memphis) won first place in the Associated Press Sports Editors 2015 contest in column writing in the 30,000-75,000 circulation category.

Calkins won for his series of five columns ranging from a feature column on a terminally ill hospice patient playing his last round of golf to Ole Miss football.

Calkins 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 Calkins ahead of runner-up Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa (Calif.) Press Democrat and third-place finisher Jennifer Gish of the Times Union (Albany, N.Y).
The contest is open to APSE members. Click here to join.

Sports editors in the 30,000-75,000 circulation category submitted a total of 63 column 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 an entry 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. Geoff Calkins, The Commercial Appeal (Memphis) 41 points, 2 first-place votes

Geoff Calkins: A story about soccer, teachers and getting off your butt

Geoff Calkins: Jackson Dillon, the Masher from Mud Creek

Geoff Calkins: No masking Conley’s will to win

One last round proves perfect medicine

Geoff Calkins: Freeze takes a stand, proposes Mississippi state flag change


  1. Lowell Cohn, Santa Rosa (Calif.) Press Democrat 40 points, 2 first-place votes

Lowell Cohn: Ken Norton defined by humanity, not glass jaw

Lowell Cohn: Shooting the breeze with Warriors coach Steve Kerr

Lowell Cohn: Only a game was lost, not the star

Lowell Cohn: Caitlyn Jenner deserves support, not criticism

Lowell Cohn: Tim Lincecum, the unforgettable ‘Freak’


  1. Jennifer Gish, Times Union (Albany, N.Y). 38 points, 1 first-place vote

Jennifer Gish: NFL’s Greg Hardy proves we don’t care enough about women

Jennifer Gish: Pushing with a purpose

Gish: Women hitting athletic director glass ceiling

Jennifer Gish: NCAA lacrosse rule change would benefit youth sports

Natalie Rosenstock blazed trail as writer that few have followed


  1. Pete Iorizzo, Times Union (Albany, N.Y.) 37 points

Joyous news of Peter Hooley’s shot spreads half a world away

Pete Iorizzo: Daily fantasy underscores need for more coherent gambling policies

Pharoah truly a keeper

Pete Iorizzo: Family of Craig Frear, missing Scotia man, needs our help

Iorizzo: Incident at high school game underscores fan behavior issues


  1. Aaron McFarling, The Roanoke (Va.) Times 32 points

McFarling: Forced activism serves nobody

McFarling: Dog day afternoon at Martinsville

McFarling: Frank Beamer departs while he’s still loved

McFarling: Bronco bucks convention, and it is beautiful

McFarling: At ease, Mr. President: Anderson ‘ready to rock and roll’


  1. Jeff Welsch, Billings (Mont.) Gazette 23 points

50 years after his bizarre death, Wayne Estes remains a towering presence

Welsch column: Parents, don’t let your kids become cooked frogs

Welsch column: Football is the quickest antidote for what ails MSUB

Welsch column: Billings gives Big Sky Conference every reason to say ‘yes’

Welsch column: Box score reaction epitomizes sports section dilemmas


  1. David Moulton, The News-Press (Fort Myers, Fla.) 21 points

Meyer is gone, Gator fans need to move on

The Nats should be here

FSW may not have to look far to find their coaches

Richt a perfect fit for Hurricanes

College football needs Miami Makeup rule


  1. Kerry Benefield, Santa Rosa (Calif.) Press Democrat 18 points

Benefield: Annadel, Henry Trione’s gift

Benefield: Valley Ford surfer gets a daily dose of waves

Benefield: In echoes of Katrina, words of hope for Middletown

Benefield: After Valley fire, return of football just what Middletown needed

Benefield: Santa Rosa schools should look before they leap into lacrosse

  1. Cory Mull, The News-Press (Fort Myers, Fla.) 17 points

Cory Mull: 8-year-old Cali hopes to beat cancer

Mull: Sports more than numbers, but facts matter

Kerkesner honors lost friend with state title hopes

CORY MULL: Bishop Verot grad gets scholarship at UF

Cory Mull: McQuinn toy drive seeks to inspire


  1. Kevin Thomas, Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram 8 points

Good friend Stump Merrill salutes Yogi Berra as ‘a class act all the way’

On Baseball: Brenly went from Sea Dogs to Red Sox – by retiring

On Baseball: Red Sox coach learned from one of the best – his dad

On Baseball: Cherington must deliver after so many missteps

On Baseball: Sea Dogs’ catcher living his dream